Week In Review: Design, Low Power

Chip sales down YoY, but glimmers of recovery; Renesas secures 10 years of SiC wafers; booting in space; hybrid quantum.


Worldwide semiconductor industry sales dropped 21% year-over-year in May to $40.7 billion, mostly driven by decreases in the Americas (-22%), Asia Pacific/All Other (-23%), and China (-29%). But there also were hints of a recovery. The three-month moving average showed a 1.7% increase in sales, with the largest increases in China (+3.9%) and Europe (+2%). “Despite continuing market sluggishness compared to 2022, month-to-month global semiconductor sales inched upward in May for the third consecutive month, sparking optimism for a possible market rebound during the second half of the year,” said John Neuffer, Semiconductor Industry Association president and CEO.

Renesas Electronics inked a deal to secure a 10-year supply of silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers from Wolfspeed, enabling Renesas to scale production of silicon carbide power semiconductors starting in 2025.

As chip complexity grows, more elements in the design flow need to be choreographed much more precisely. Some steps have to shift further left, while others need to be considered earlier in the planning process even if the work happens later in the flow.

Tools, products & deals

Infineon Technologies and Teledyne e2v jointly developed a processor boot solution and reference design for high-reliability edge computing space systems. The design, built around a Teledyne e2v QLS1046-Space edge computing module, which is configured by the radiation-hardened 64MByte Infineon SONOS based NOR Flash memory, aims to address weight and communication limitations for space processing.

Synopsys and Golden Electronics are teaming up on workforce development in Jordan with a VLSI talent acceleration initiative built on Golden Electronics’ acquisition of multiple licenses for Synopsys’ EDA software, educational design kits, and microelectronics curriculum.

As soon as a design includes multiple processors, or heterogeneous compute environments, the tooling becomes a lot less available. There is a dearth of tools that can help partition software, or optimize a processor while considering the memory subsystem or the communications network.

Infineon partnered with Kontrol to provide necessary regulatory updates related to driver assistance functions for the AURIX microcontroller family.

S2C uncorked a new FPGA-based prototyping solution with PCIe Gen5 and a total bandwidth of up to 5,600 Gbps for verification of high bandwidth applications such as storage, AI, and GPU chip designs.

CAST introduced an IP core that serves as a custom-hardware engine for the MACsec Ethernet security protocol in FPGA or ASIC designs.

Industry executives find that increasing design complexity, AI, and geopolitics are making it more difficult to share data.

Ashling debuted a debug and trace probe for embedded development with support for multiple target architectures including Synopsys ARC Processor powered systems. It supports real-time trace and works with the Synopsys ARC MetaWare Development Toolkit.

Codasip appointed Axel Strotbek as its new chairman of the board. Strotbek served as the CFO and member of the management board at AUDI.

How far can a RISC-V design be pushed and still be compliant? The answer isn’t always black-and-white, and defining exactly what compliance means remains a challenge.

Quantum computing

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking selected six sites to host new quantum computers based on a range of different technologies: superconducting, photonic, neutral atom, trapped ion, and analog systems are planned. The systems will be integrated into existing supercomputers in Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Spain and be available primarily for R&D purposes to European users in the scientific community, as well as to industry and the public sector.

Quantum hardware, software, and hybrid solutions company Terra Quantum acquired Divis Intelligent Solutions, a developer of classical algorithms for data analysis, automatic machine learning, and process optimization. The companies said the acquisition will help accelerate the development of classical and hybrid quantum algorithms, including techniques specifically tailored to generative AI.

Quantum Delta NL, a public-private organization that supports the Dutch quantum ecosystem, received a €60.2M (~$65.4M) investment from The National Growth Fund of the Netherlands as part of a joint program with France and Germany to strengthen strategic R&D connections across borders to accelerate the development of the European quantum technologies industry.

Canada’s National Quantum Strategy is putting CAD 14.0M (~$10.6M) behind the NGen and DIGITAL innovation clusters for new projects to drive the commercialization of quantum technologies. The groups aim to attract more than CAD 30.0M (~$22.8M) to support projects building quantum sensors, networks, and computing hardware and software.

Research notes

Researchers from Columbia University developed a photonic transmitter chip that can generate hundreds of distinct wavelengths of light from a single laser source, enabling it to simultaneously transfer independent streams of data. The device uses wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) and Kerr frequency combs combined with a photonic circuit architecture that allows each channel to be individually encoded with data while having minimal interference with neighboring channels.

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) devised a photonic circuit on a chip that transforms a single incoming beam of laser light into multiple new beams, each with different optical properties, such as altered phase and polarization. The beams simultaneously exit the circuit at different locations along the chip, allowing for selection of the specific characteristics of one or more beams needed for a particular application.

A team from the Tokyo University of Science propose building physical reservoir computing systems using an ion-gating transistor. In the device, gate, drain, and source electrodes are separated by an electrolyte that acts as a medium to control the flow of ions and results in a drain current that can be precisely modulated, enabling 40 reservoir states and short-term memory capabilities based on redox reactions. Such a system could be used for neuromorphic computing.

Upcoming events

  • DAC 2023: Design Automation Conference – July 9-13 (San Francisco, CA)
  • Rambus Design Summit – July 18-19 (Online)
  • 2023 Flash Memory Conference & Expo – August 8-10 (Santa Clara, CA)
  • DARPA: Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) – August 22-24 (Seattle, WA)
  • Hot Chips 2023 – August 27-29 (Hybrid online & Stanford, CA)
  • NVMTS 2023: Non-Volatile Memory Technology Symposium – August 30-September 1 (Leuven, Belgium)
  • IEEE International System-on-Chip Conference (SOCC): SoCs/ SiPs for Edge Intelligence & Accelerated Computing – September 5-8 (Santa Clara, CA)
  • AI Hardware Summit 2023 – September 12-14 (Santa Clara, CA)
  • DVCON India: Design & Verification Conference & Exhibition – September 13-14 (Bangalore, India)
  • More events and webinars

Further reading

Check out the latest Low Power-High Performance and Systems & Design newsletters for these highlights and more:

  • Programming Processors In Heterogeneous Architectures
  • Power/Performance Costs Of Securing Systems
  • EDA’s Role Grows For Preventing And Identifying Failures
  • The Uncertainties Of RISC-V Compliance
  • Verification And Test Of Safety And Security
  • Better Choreography Required For Complex Chips
  • CEO Outlook: Chiplets, Data Management, And Reliability

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