Week In Review: Design, Low Power

New CPU, GPU, NPU IP from Arm; TensorFlow for Microcontrollers ported to ARC; HDMI/DVI RX/TX IP for embedded.


Tools & IP
Arm unveiled several new processor IPs. Targeting next-gen smartphones, the Cortex-A78 CPU provides a 20% increase in sustained performance over Cortex-A77-based devices within a 1-watt power budget, and more efficient management of compute workloads and on-device ML.

The Mali-G78 GPU provides a 25% increase in performance over the Malti-G77. It supports up to 24 cores and includes asynchronous top level, tiler enhancements, and improved fragment dependency tracking.

The Ethos-N78 neural processing unit (NPU) provides up to 25% more performance efficiency compared to the Ethos-N77 along with better on-device ML capabilities. It is available in configurations starting at 1 TOP/s up to 10 TOP/s.

Arm also introduced the Cortex-X Custom Program, which allows for customization and differentiation beyond the traditional Cortex roadmap. The program’s first CPU, the Cortex-X1, provides 30% peak performance over Cortex-A77 and targets flagship smartphones and larger screens.

Cadence uncorked a digital full flow Rapid Adoption Kit (RAK) for Arm’s new Cortex-A78  and Cortex-X1 CPUs. Cadence’s Verification Suite and its engines have also been optimized for the creation of Cortex-A78 and Cortex-X1 CPU-based designs.

A range of Synopsys products, including Synopsys Fusion Design Platform, Verification Continuum Platform, and DesignWare Interface IP, have been optimized to enable tapeout for early adopters of Arm’s latest IP, including Arm Cortex-A78 and Cortex-X1 CPUs, and Mali-G78 GPU. Synopsys QuickStart Implementation Kits (QIKs) are available now.

Synopsys ported TensorFlow for Microcontrollers software from Google to the Synopsys DSP-enhanced DesignWare ARC Processor IP. Designed to run on memory-constrained designs, the port uses the embARC Machine Learning Inference (MLI) software library, which supports all DSP-enhanced ARC EM and HS processors. The MLI software library provides an optimized set of essential kernels for efficient inference of small or mid-sized machine learning models, resulting in a performance improvement of more than a 5x improvement compared to the performance of the TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers reference kernels.

Gowin Semiconductor released the latest versions of its HDMI/DVI RX and TX IPs. Focused on embedded equipment and resolutions such as 1080p30 or 1280x800p60, the IPs target applications that don’t need extremely high resolutions or frame rates and are sensitive to final end product cost.

Panasonic adopted Synopsys’ Custom Design Platform for all analog, mixed-signal and RF IC designs worldwide across a range of process technologies and applications. Panasonic cited improvements to its spatial sensing solution and battery sensing solution for the automotive and industrial market along with rapid responses to the company’s requirements.

Synopsys’ DesignWare DDR5/4 PHY IP will be used by Mellanox, Nvidia’s networking business unit, to address evolving memory requirements in its InfiniBand networking chips targeting HPC and AI applications.

The Khronos Group published the OpenVG 1.1 Lite Provisional Specification for advanced 2D vector and raster graphics. OpenVG 1.1 Lite relaxes the accuracy requirements of stroke path rasterization and normalizes the stencil/blending modes of OpenVG 1.1 so that they can be directly accelerated by any OpenGL ES 2.0-compatible 3D GPU, while maintaining high rendering quality. Open source conformance tests are available.

Many conferences have now been cancelled, postposed, or moved online. Find out what’s happening with each at our events page. How about checking out a webinar instead?

Ansys will host the Simulation World virtual conference on June 10 & 11. Focused on multiphysics simulation across many sectors, there will be a dedicated Semiconductor Track and several industry tracks devoted to 5G, industrial IoT, electrification, and autonomous vehicles.

The ESD Alliance will host its 2020 CEO Outlook as a virtual event on June 17 at 10:30 a.m. PST. This year’s panel features Arm’s Simon Segars, Joseph Sawicki of Mentor, OneSpin’s Raik Brinkmann, John Kibarian from PDF Solutions, Prakash Narain of Real Intent, and Silvaco’s Babak Taheri. The panelists will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, along with major new trends and potential opportunities.

DAC will be a virtual event this year. It will still take place July 19 – 23, 2020. More details on the new virtual format will be available at a later date.

Arm TechCon has been renamed Arm DevSummit and will be held virtually October 5-9, 2020. The call for papers and presentations is now open through June 9.

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