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More space for satellites and a roadmap for data protection

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Blog Review – Monday, February 12, 2018
This week’s selection includes 100G Ethernet for data centers; Satellites will vie for space; A roadmap for data protection, and more from the blogsphere

The rise of data centers and increase in cloud-based computing has prompted Lance Looper, Silicon Labs, to examine how wireless networks are changing to meet the demands for performance and low latency and implementing 100G Ethernet.

https://www.silabs.com/community/blog.entry.html/2018/02/05/ethernet_s_role_inh-pTeJ

Marveling at how connectivity has ‘shrunk’ the world, Paolo Colombo, ANSYS, looks skywards to consider the growth of connected devices. He looks at the role of space satellites and how small satellites will have their day for critical applications and introduces ‘pseudo sats’ which are vying for space in space.

An article about medical device design and manufacturing challenges has prompted Roger Mazzella, QT, to address each and provide a response to reassure developers. Naturally, QT’s products play a role in allaying many fears, but it is an interesting insight into the medical design arena.

An interesting case study is recorded by Hellen Norman, Arm, featuring Scratchy the robot. She asks German embedded systems developer, Sebastian Förster how he used a Cortex-M4, some motors, Lego bricks and cable ties to create a four-legged robot, programmed to walk using artificial intelligence (AI).

It’s not unusual to feel bewildered at a technology conference, so we can sympathise with Thomas Hackett, Cadence, who has a twist on the usual philosophical question of “What am I here for?” A walk through DesignCon caused a lightbulb moment, illuminating the real world interplay of IP, SoC and packaging.

With the IoT there are no secrets, and Robert Vamosi, Synopsys examines how data sharing may not be as innocuous as companies would have us believe, if it is not configured flawlessly. The Strava heatmap which reveals secret military locations has thrown up some serious issues which, we are assured, are being addressed, and which Vamosi sees as a model for other IoT and wearable device manufacturers.

Tackling software-defined networking (SDN) head-on, Jean-Marie Brunet, Mentor Graphics, presents a clear and strong case for accelerating verification using virtual emulation. Of course he advocates Veloce VirtuaLAB PCIe for the task, but backs up his recommendation with some sound reasoning and guidance.

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

A review from CES, and looking ahead to 2018; How the IoT will develop in industry and prototyping; Autonomous driving research; the value of HBM

Research commissioned by Arm around the road to autonomous vehicles is detailed in a blog by Andy Moore. He provides a link to a white paper that touches on the state of ADAS today and what the industry is doing to develop robotaxis and autonomous driving.

After a weather and travel round-up, Paul McLellan, Cadence, highlights some of the news from CES 2018. He alights on automotive and the car designed by Dream Chip and Globalfoundries in the company’s suite and highlights from vehicle manufacturers and semiconductor companies. He also takes in a 5G keynote, TVs, augmented reality, holographs, drones, 3D printing and welcomes robots.

There are many ideas for the IoT, and how to prototype them, with dwindling ranks of hardware and software developers, is perplexing Pär Håkansson, Nordic Semiconductor. He proposes a web-based platform to ‘plug the gaps’ and the company’s own Thingy:52 and nRF Cloud to configure IoT prototypes.

For centuries, people have wanted to know what the future holds. Some mystics have attempted to predict what is to come, some with more success than others. IHS Markit limits itself to identifying transformative technologies for this year. The checklist is analysed in a white paper that can be loaded free of charge.

Another soothsayer is Chet Hellum, Intel, who is not exactly sticking his neck when he says the IoT is going to be big in 2018. His blog looks at how the IoT will drive manufacturing trends in 2018 and the benefits investments can bring to a smart factory.

The role of memory in high bandwith graphics, high performance computing and artificial intelligence will present verification challenges. Shaily Khare, Synopsys examines the structure and strengths of High Bandwith Memory (HBM), the enhancements of HBM2 and how to exploit its properties.

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

This week blogs are focused on health and AI, from remote care for the elderly to asthma inhalers using machine learning; plus sewer cleaning and multimedia SoCs

The autonomous car can reduce hospital visits by visiting patients – but won’t that put more cars on the road? David P Ryan, Intel advocates a delivery service for the next generation of healthcare.

Taking an engineer’s view on every object, Peter Ferguson, Arm, looks at the asthma inhaler and takes a deep breath at the Amiko ‘smart’ inhaler which uses an Arm Cortex-M processor.

Former Cadence employee, Vishal Kapoor, presented Preparing for the Cognitive Era, at San Jose State University. Paul McLellan, Cadence reports on why Kapoor is worried about the amount of data companies are collecting.

The importance of video content, used in augmented reality devices and 4K UHD TV, relies on efficient multimedia SoCs. Richard Pugh, Mentor, looks at some of the ways and means to verify the data and cites an interesting example of a customer developing a drone.

No wonder it’s called Solo – who would want to join RedZone Robotics’ autonomous sewer-inspection robot (called Solo)? Steve Leibson, Xilinx, uncovers the clean workings of the robot that crawls and records where others refuse to go, and explains how it uses Spartan FPGA for image processing and for AI. (There’s a video too – but it’s not a mucky one!)

Enough about the IoT, says Jim Harrison, Lincoln Technology Communications, guest blogging for Maxim Integrated. What about how to connect millions of sensors and actuators? He lays out a comprehensive ‘shopping list’ of long range wireless comms and connection options to help speed up the IoT conversation.

Coming full circle, Marc Horner, ANSYS, relates the case study of computational modeling for insulin delivery systems.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Monday, August 28th, 2017

This week, we find Trust issues for autonomous cars; Something old to wear; How to get design teams to talk; Discover Cadence adds ARM to its library; and Unravelling RTOS with Mentor

Autonomous driving – it’s all a matter of trust, says Jack Weast, Intel. Fearing the robot at the wheel can be overcome, he maintains, reviewing the findings of a Trust Interaction Study. His blog covers human-machine judgement, personal space and lack of assistance, awareness and information balance and giving up control.

Proving there is nothing new under the sun, Maeva Mandard, Dassault Systèmes, considers wearable technology and the earliest example of a wearable calculator. She outlines how an integrated view, mechanics, electronics and embedded software will allow design and test teams to work together.

Adopting a novel approach –i.e. different teams communicating – Lucid Motors designed a luxury electric vehicle by locking different engineering teams in a room. Another significant factor, relates Sandeep Sovani, ANSYS, is the use of multiphysics simulation on the Workbench platform for simultaneous optimisation.

Keeping up with multi-core, SoCs, Steve Brown, Cadence explains how the company’s library of portable stimulus is designed for specific functional sub-systems that are common in complex SoCs. The first, for multi-core ARMv8 and ARMv8.2 architectures, are introduced, with a link to Nick Heaton, ARM’s blog on the library. More libraries are promised for later this year.

Some economic policy advice becomes an analogy for Tom De Schutter, Synopsys, for engineers moving from single FPGA prototypes to multiple FPGA ones. How to make the leap painlessly is an interesting read addressing a topic that many will recognize.

A very informative piece by Colin Walls, Mentor Graphics, continues his RTOS focus, with a blog about data transfer. He provides some clear graphics to show the task of data transfer and opens a window on this procedure.

Blog Review – Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Let’s hear it for High Fidelity Gaming and it’s all about the IoT, with PCB schematic tips from Mentor and security from Maxim; Inside NI’s 5G test lab and hope for Parkinson’s Disease research

Serious gamers are intriguing Freddi Jeffries, ARM. She looks at High Fidelity Mobile Gaming (HFMG) and who’s adopting it and where. Can mobile devices, based on Mali graphics processing units (GPUs) take on the console market?

A personal and heart-felt post by Altium Designer, Altium, looks at medical advances in treating Parkinson’s Disease. An overview of research by assorted technology companies manages to combine various uses for spoons, concludes with a gentle plug for PCB design software.

Stil with PCBs, John McMillan, Mentor Graphics Design presents part four of an IoT PCB design-themed series. The topic is schematic and layout design, from creating the schematic to component placement and constraint management for effective manufacture.

IoT security is keeping Christine Young, Maxim Integrated occupied – she is keeping busy finding out the scale of cybercrime, and the worrying lack of action companies to take steps for security. She flags up a free webinar on how to safeguard connected devices.

Taking a practical approach is applauded by Michael DeLuca, ON Semiconductor. He likes the attitude of the Institute of Space Systems (IRS) at the University of Stuttgart, whose students are preparing to launch its Flying Laptop satellite.

Taking a sneaky peek at the National Instruments’ 5G Innovation Lab, Steve Leibson, Xilinx, celebrates the company’s Virtex-7 and Kintex-7 FGPAs use in Verizon’s 5GTF (Verizon 5G Technology Forum) test equipment. The Forum is developing a 28/39GHz wireless communications platform to replace fiber in fixed-wireless applications.

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday, July 10th, 2017

This week’s bloggers are kept busy with machine learning (Intel and Synopsys) as well as predicting the future for industry 4.0 (Dassault Systèmes), IoT and 5G (ARM and Hyper) and where Marty McFly went wrong (ANSYS)

As industries gear up to invest four to five per cent of revenues in digitization, Mark Bese, Dassault Systèmes looks at what Industry 4.0 will mean for work process, investment and why early adopters will gain the most.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a one-wheel skateboard, designed by Kyle Doerksen and much admired by Susan Coleman, ANSYS. She explains how digital prototyping helped get the Onewheel off the ground - while keeping the ride off it.

A practical approach to autonomous vehicles is taken by Puneet Sinha, Mentor Graphics. He looks under-the-hood and provides a comprehensive list of where designers need to focus their attention.

On a learning curve about machine learning, Sean Safarpour, Syopsys, wonders where EDA can assist and positions the company’s VC Formal as the tool for the job.

Not everything in the olden days was better and simulation is a case in point. Xteam at Cadence has written about a new way to reduce simulation test time, as Xcelium Simulator enables multi-core simulation to break the bottleneck and accelerate test times.

Promising new ways to drive the IoT, edge computing and 5G infrastructure, the open source runV project is reviewed by Mark Hambleton, ARM. The Open Containers Iniatitive (OCI)-compliant secure container runtime technology aims to bring security while maintaining performance and portability.

Having a whale of a time, Ted Willke, Intel, heads off to the deep blue yonder to study humpback whales as part of the Parley SnotBot expedition using the SnotBot drone to collect data from the whales’ err, well, snot (or blow). Apparently, it is rich with data from DNA, hormones, to viruses, bacteria, and toxins. (Probably best not to read this blog post over lunch!)

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday, June 12th, 2017

This week, we find traffic systems for drones and answers to the questions ‘What’s the difference between safe and secure?’ and ‘Can you hear voice control calling?’

An interesting foray into semantics is conducted by Andrew Hopkins, ARM, as he looks at what makes a system secure and what makes a system safe and can the two adjectives be interchanged in terms of SoC design? (With a little plug for ARM at DAC later this month.)

It had to happen, a traffic system designed to restore order to the skies as commercial drones increase in number. Ken Kaplan, Intel, looks at what NASA scientists and technology leaders have come up with to make sense of the skies.

Voice control is ready to bring voice automation to the smart home, says Kjetil Holstad, Nordic Semiconductor. He highlights a fine line of voice-activation’s predecessors and looks to the future with context-awareness.

More word play, this time from Tom De Schutter, Synopsys, who discusses verification and validation and their role in prototyping.

Tackling two big announcements from Mentor Graphics, Mike Santarini, looks at the establishment of the outsourced assembly and test (OSAT) Alliance program, and the company’s Xpedition high-density advanced packaging (HDAP) flow. He educates without patronizing on why the latter in particular is good news for fabless companies and where it fits in the company’s suite of tools. He also manages to flag up technical sessions on the topic at next month’s DAC.

Reporting from IoT DevCon, Christine Young, Maxim Integrated, highlights the theme of security in a connected world. She reviews the presentation “Shifting the IoT Mindset from Security to Trust,” by Bill Diotte, CEO of Mocana, and In “Zero-Touch Device Onboarding for IoT,” by Jennifer Gilburg, director of strategy, Internet of Things Identity at Intel. She explores a lot of the pitfalls and perils with problem-solving.

Anticipating a revolution in transportation, Alyssa, Dassault Systemes, previews this week’s Movin’On in Montreal, Canada, with an interview with colleague and keynote speaker, Guillaume Gerondeau, Senior Director Transportation and Mobility Asia. He looks at how smart mobility will impact cities and how 3D virtual tools can make the changes accessible and acceptable.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday, May 8th, 2017

This week, there is some N7 news, and the beginning of an HPC renaissance; ARM survives a mountain-top ordeal and Intel has a strategy for IoT; Odd place for sunburn

https://community.cadence.com/cadence_blogs_8/b/breakfast-bytes/archive/2017/05/05/tsmc-n7

TSMC’s 7nm process is detailed by Paul McLellan, Cadence, from a visit to CDNLive Silicon Valley. His report is well illustrated and informative.

Predicting a second renaissance in high-performance computing (HPC), Prasad Alavilli, ANSYS, explains the role of CFD and the state-of-play for HPC and what that means for chip design.

Likening Internet security to the American ‘wild west’, Alan Grau, Icon Labs, fears for security measures and corrective actions. He looks at some recent attacks and cures and advocates a strong stance on security.

I suspect Scott Salzwedel, Mentor Graphics, is rather excited about the New Horizons spacecraft, which is due to emerge from its hibernation. His enthusiasm is infectious, and his well-illustrated blog puts the reader as in thrall to the project – and the role of the company’s own Nucleus RTOS – as he clearly is.

The three phases of the IoT revolution are set out by Aaron Tersteeg, Intel. He sets out a clear plan to nuture big ideas and how technology can support the evolution.

PVT (process, voltage and temperature) sensor systems are exciting Rupert Baines, UltraSoC. He considers the company’s co-operation with Moortec Semiconductor, and what this means for SoC monitoring.

Life is not looking too rosy for ARM engineer Matt Du Puy and fellow climbers, at the moment. They are stuck on Mt Kanchenjunga in Nepal, without the drone copter that was confiscated by customs officials. True the team has a toolbox of ARM-powered devices, like the Suunto Ambit smartwatch, satellite beacon, Outernet networking device, Google Pixel smartphone, Go Pro and Ricoh Theta 360-degree camera, reports Brian Fuller, ARM, but there is also sunburn – inside the nostrils (eughhh!).

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday, April 24th, 2017

This week’s blogs are concerned with AI and intelligent, connected vehicles, sometimes both. There are quests to find the facts behind myths and searches for answers for power management and software security too.

Is an effective tool for verification, the stuff of legends? Gabe Moretti, Chip Design Magazine, seeks the truth behind Pegasus – no, not the winged horse, the more earthly verification engine from Cadence.

A power strategy is one thing, but a free trial adds a new dimension to energy management. Don Dingee, Sonics, elaborates on the company’s plan to bring power to the masses, using hardware IP and ICE-Grain Power architecture.

If you are unsure about USB, Senad Lomigora, ON Semiconductor’s blog should help. It looks at what it’s for, why we can’t get enough of USB Type C, USB 3.1, connectors and re-drivers.

Every vehicle’s ADAS relies on good visuals, observes Jim Harrison, guest blogger, Maxim Integrated, and good connectivity. He looks at the securely connected autonomous car, and then homes in on explained how Maxim Integrated exploits GMSL, an alternative to Ethernet, in its MAX96707 and MAX96708 chips, to create an effective in-car communication network.

Still with the connected car, Pete Decher, Mentor Graphics, is fresh from the Autotech Council meeting in San Jose. The company’s DRS360 Autonomous Driving Platform launch was high on the list of discussion topics, along with the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the future of driving.

Still with AI, Evens Pan, ARM provides an in-depth blog on Chinese start-up, Peceptin’s enabled embedded deep learning. The case study is fascinating and well reported in this comprehensive essay.

Making any software engineer feel insecure about software security is an everyday occurrence, helping them out is a little more out-of-the-ordinary, so if it refreshing to see a post from the editorial team, Synopsys, letting the put-upon software engineer know there is a webinar coming soon (May 2) to enlighten them on the Building Security In Maturity Model (BSIMM), with a link to register to attend.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday, April 10th, 2017

This week, there are traps and lures in the IoT, as discussed by ARM and Maxim Integrated; Xilinx believes a video tutorial is a good use of time; Get cosy with SNUG for some insight; and ON Semiconductor is keeping an eye on you

Beware of delivery men bearing IoT gifts, warns, Donnie Garcia, ARM, who also looks at trap doors and NXP’s Kinetis KBOOT bootloader to foil a new attack vector and advertise a related webinar on April 25.

Nagging parents had the right idea, decides Russ Klein, Mentor Graphics, remembering entreaties to turn off lights, and whose energy saving advice he now applies to SoCs and embedded systems, with the help of the Veloce emulator.

Gabe Moretti, Chip Design, gets a bit saucy, trying to figure just what is Portable Stimulus. He gets down to the nitty gritty with how the Accellera System Initiative can help, but still believes some areas need to attended to. Let’s hope the industry pays heed.

More warnings from Kris Ardis, Maxim Integrated, and connected devices. While a Jacquard print may not be to everyone’s taste, the idea of protecting the IoT and its data has universal appeal.

The appeal of Agile design is not lost on Randy Smith, Sonics, who writes about the concept and Agile software development. He deftly dives into advances in Agile hardware design and IC methodology for Agile techniques – keeping every design engineer on their toes.

A visit to ISC West, the security expo, has made Jason Liu, ON Semiconductor, think about surveillance systems, as he throws a spotlight on one of the company’s introductions.

14 minutes does not sound like a long time to pack in all you need to know about Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs and Vivado Design Suite, but Steve Leibson, Xilinx points readers towards an interesting, informative video, which he describes as a fast and painless way to see the development tools used in a fully operation system.

It sounds like a self-satisfied neck-warmer, but SNUG (Synopsys User Group) events can be informative. Tom De Schutter attended the one in Silicon Valley and relates what he learned from the technical track with experts from ARM, NVIDIA, Intel and Synopsys about prototyping latch-based designs, ARM CPU and GPU increasing densities and more besides.

Striving to improve the lot of IoT designers, John Blyler, Embedded Systems, talks to Jim Bruister, SOC Solutions, about markets, licensing, open source and five elements that will drive improvement.

Compiled by Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

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