Week In Review: Design, Low Power

Cadence buys Pulsic; IBM to develop 100,000-qubit computer; Keysight introduces network analyzer; NI launches software-defined battery lab, Quadric introduces developer studio to speed workflow.


Cadence bought Pulsic, a U.K.-based developer of place-and-route tools for custom digital and analog. The acquisition follows a previous acquisition attempt by a Chinese firm in August 2022, which was blocked by the U.K. government.

At the G7 Summit in Japan, IBM announced a 10-year, $100 million initiative with the University of Tokyo and the University of Chicago to develop a quantum-centric supercomputer powered by 100,000 qubits.

Tokyo Tech and HPE are collaborating to build the next generation TSUBAME4.0 supercomputer for artificial intelligence, scientific research, and innovation.

Keysight introduced a midrange vector network analyzer (VNA), which the company says generates  fast, accurate error vector magnitude (EVM) measurements and accelerates the characterization of 5G component designs by up to 50%.

NI announced the launch of its Software-Defined Battery Lab solution. Designed for electric vehicle battery validation labs,  the Software-Defined Battery Lab is the industry’s first battery test solution that supports EV manufacturers and battery suppliers in tackling the pressing challenges of time-to-market, cost, and battery performance through an open and flexible approach. NI additionally introduced the widespread availability of SystemLink Enterprise. Created in partnership with GM, SystemLink Enterprise, built on Kubernetes, centralizes the way test systems and data are managed, increasing visibility and control of test processes across an entire organization simultaneously.

Quadric introduced the Quadric Developer Studio, an online collaborative development environment for Chimera general-purpose neural processing unit (GPNPU) processors. Quadric DevStudio speeds software development with the industry’s first integrated machine learning (ML) plus digital signal processing (DSP) development system. This comprehensive environment provides users with a graphical interface for constructing complex signal chains mixing classic C++ code plus neural net graph code, uploading and compiling machine learning ONNX graphs, uploading and compiling C++ code, and simulating entire workloads.

Ansys has been named on the USA Today list of America’s Climate Leaders 2023. The list comprises companies across the United States that achieved the greatest reduction in core emissions intensity — greenhouse gas emissions in relation to revenue — between 2019 and 2021.

Raven SR, a Wyoming-based fuel company working on hydrogen, will build a transportation-grade hydrogen production facility that converts organic waste into hydrogen at a Richland, California landfill.

Maury Microwave, which makes RF calibration, measurement, emulation and modeling tools will acquire Wireless Telecom Group in a transaction that is expected to close in Q3, subject to the approval of Wireless Telecom Group Shareholders and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Frontier System remains the only true exascale machine on the Top 500 list, according to the 61st edition of the list. This HPE Cray EX system is the first U.S. system with a performance exceeding 1 Exaflop.

Academic Research

Researchers from the electronics engineering department at Hanoi University of Industry, Hanoi, Vietnam, proposed an amplifier architecture that can cut down thermal noise and input-related noise (IRN) that plagues the sensor signals used in heart monitors and other biomedical uses. They propose an ultra-low-power CCIA (capacitively coupled chopper instrumentation amplifier) that has programmable bandwidth for biomedical applications. The results showed a noise efficiency factor (NEF) of 1.47 and a power efficiency factor (PEF) of 0.56, according to their research.

Researchers from the University of Northampton in the U.K. are proposing an algorithm to improve the lifetime of nodes, temperature, and usage that can address some of the design challenges from dark silicon in many-core systems. Their proposed algorithm, called Ageing Task Migration Aware for High-Performance Computing (AMA), finds the clusters to which applications are mapped and moves the high-demand tasks among the nodes to improve the lifetime. The researchers look at all the methods to deal with dark silicon and why they don’t work completely. They write in their paper “AMA: An Ageing Task Migration Aware for High-Performance Computing” that their experimental results show their proposed method outperforms state-of-the-art techniques by more than 10%.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have made a device that can convert heat to electricity, using the Seebeck effect from microscopic columns of gallium nitride on a silicon wafer. Silicon layers are removed from the bottom side of the wafer to make a thin sheet that could eventually wrap around pipes or other heat sources. The Seebeck effect happens when two different metals are joined on one end and kept at different temperatures. One of the metals has to conduct heat poorly so the temperature difference is maintained. The nanopillars decouple the heat conduction from the electricity conduction. Eventually the technique could be used to make extra electricity in data centers and other high heat producing industry.

Upcoming events:

  • Electronic Components and Technology Conference (ECTC), May 30 – June 2 (Orlando, FL)
  • GLSVLSI 2023—2023 33rd ACM Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI, June 5 – 7 (Knoxville, TN)
  • RISC-V Summit Europe, June 5 – 9 (Barcelona, Spain)
  • RFIC—2023 Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits Symposium, June 11 – 13 (San Diego, CA)
  • ISCA—2023 International Symposium on Computer Architecture, June 17 – 21 (Orlando, FL)

Further reading

Check out the latest  and Systems & Design newsletters for the Chip Design CEO Outlook and more:

  • Chiplet Planning Kicks Into High Gear
    Issues involving design, manufacturing, packaging, and observability all need to be solved before this approach goes mainstream for many applications.
  • Chip Design CEO Outlook
    Challenges and opportunities involving heterogeneous integration, geopolitics, and AI.
  • IP Becoming More Complex, More Costly
    The IP industry is undergoing several transformations that will make it difficult for new companies to enter the market, and more expensive for those that remain.

Read our Low Power-High Performance newsletter for these highlights and other stories:


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