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Blog Review – Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Repeating last year’s project, Gagan Luthra, ARM, explains this year’s 100 projects in 100 days for the new Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Pioneer Kit, with Cypress’s PsoC 4 BLE; an ARM Cortex-M0 CPU with BLE radio.

Steve Schulz visited Cadence Design and entranced Brian Fuller, with his ideas for standards for the IoT, the evolution of the SoC into a System on Stack and the design gaps that lie en route.

Fighting the Nucleus corner, Chris Ciufo, ee catalog, rejoices in the news that Mentor Graphics is repositioning the RTOS for Industrie 4.0, for factory automation, and standing up to the tough guys in the EDA playground.

Following the news that Intel is to buy Lantiq, Martin Bijman, Chipworks, looks into what the acquisition will bring to the Intel stable, presenting some interesting statistics.

Maybe a little one-sided, but the video presented by Bernie DeLay, Synopsys, is informative about how VIP architecture accelerates memory debug for simultaneous visualization.

The normally relaxed and affable Warren Savage, IP-extreme is getting hot under the collar at the thought of others ‘borrowing’, or plain old plagiarism, as he puts it in his post. The origins of the material will be argued, (the offending article has been removed from the publication’s site), but Savage uses the incident to make a distinction between articles with a back story and ‘traditional’ tech journalism.

To end on a light note, Raj Suri, Intel, presents a list compiled by colleagues of employees that look like celebrities. Nicholas Cage, Dame Helen Mirren and Michael J Fox doppelgangers are exposed.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, February 09, 2015

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Arthur C Clarke interview; Mastering Zynq; The HAPS and the HAPS-nots; Love thy customer; What designers want; The butterfly effect for debug

A nostalgic look by at an AT&T and MIT conference, by Artie Beavis, ARM, has a great video interview with Arthur C Clarke. It is fascinating to see the man himself envisage mobile connectivity and ‘devices that send information to friends, the exchange of pictorial information and data; the ‘completely mobile’ telephone as well as looking forward to receiving signals from outer space.

A video tutorial presented by Dr Mohammad S Sadri, Microelectronic Systems Design Research Group at Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Germany, shows viewers how to create AXI-based peripherals in the Xilinx Zynq SoC programmable logic. Steve Liebson, Xilinx posts the video. Dr Sadri may appear a little awkward with the camera rolling, but he clearly knows his stuff and the 23 minute video is informative.

Showing a little location envy, Michael Posner, Synopsys, visited his Californian counterparts, and inbetween checking out gym and cafeteria facilities, he caught up on FPGA-based prototype debug and HAPS.

Good news from the Semiconductor Industry Association as Falan Yinug reports on record-breaking sales in 2014 and quarterly growth. Who bought what makes interesting – and reassuring – reading.

Although hit with the love bug, McKenzie Mortensen, IPextreme, does not let her heart rule her head when it comes to customer relations. She presents the company’s good (customer) relationship guide in this blog.

A teaser of survey results from Neha Mittal, Arrow Devices, shows what design and verification engineers want. Although the survey is open to more respondents until February 15, the results received so far are a mix of predictable and some surprises, all with the option to see disaggregated, or specific, responses for each questions.

From bugs to butterflies, Doug Koslow, Cadence, considers the butterfly effect in verification and presents some sound information and graphics to show the benefits of the company’s SimVision.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday February 2, 2015

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

2015’s must-have – a personal robot, Thumbs up for IP access, USB 3.1 has landed, Transaction recap, New talent required, Structuring medical devices, MEMS sensors webinar

Re-living a youth spent watching TV cartoons, Brad Nemire, ARM, marvels at the Personal Robot created by Robotbase. It uses an ARM-based board powered by a Quad-core Qualcomm Krait CPU, so he interviewed the creator, Duy Huynh, Founder and CEO of Robotbase and found out more about how it was conceived and executed. I think I can guess what’s on Nemire’s Christmas list already.

Getting a handle on security access to big data, Michael Ford, Mentor Graphics, suggests a solution to accessing technology IP or patented technology without resorting to extreme measures shown in films and TV.

Celebrating the integration of USB 3.1 in the Nokia N1 tablet and other, upcoming products, Eric Huang, Synopsys, ties this news in with access to “the best USB 3.1 webinar in the universe”, which – no great surprise – is hosted by Synopsys. He also throws in some terrible jokes – a blog with something for everyone.

A recap on transaction-based verification is provided by Axel Scherer, Cadence, with the inevitable conclusion that the company’s tools meet the task. The blog’s embedded video is simple, concise and informative and worth a click.

Worried about the lack of new, young engineers entering the semiconductor industry, Kands Manickam, IP extreme, questions the root causes for the stagnation.

A custom ASIC and ASSP microcontroller combine to create the Struix product, and Jakob Nielsen, ON Semiconductor, explains how this structure can meet medical and healthcare design parameters with a specific sensor interface.

What’s the IoT without MEMS sensors? Tim Menasveta, ARM, shows the way to an informative webinar : Addressing Smart Sensor Design Challenges for SoCs and IoT, hosted in collaboration with Cadence, using its Virtuoso and MEMS Convertor tools and the Cortex-M processors.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, January 26 2015

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Finding fault tolerances with Cortex-R5; nanotechnology thinks big; Cadence, – always talking; mine’s an IEEE on ice; IP modeling

The inherent fault tolerance ARM’s Cortex-R5 processors is explored and expanded upon by Neil Werdmuller, ARM, in an informative blog. Reading this post, it is evident that it is as much about the tools and ecosystem as the processor technology.

Nanotechnology is a big subject, and Catherine Bolgar, Dassault Systemes, tackles this overview competently, with several, relevant links in the post itself.

Harking back to CES, Brian Fuller, Cadence, shares an interesting video from the show, where Ty Kingsmore, Realtek Semiconductor, talks the talk about always on voice applications and the power cost.

A special nod has to be given to Arthur Marris, Cadence, who travelled to Atlanta for the IEEE 802.3 meeting but managed to sightsee and includes a photo in his post of the vault that holds the recipe for coca cola. He also hints at the ‘secret formula’ for the 2.5 and 5G PHY and automotive proposals for the standard. (Another picture shows delegates’ tables but there were no iconic bottles to be seen anywhere – missed marketing opportunity?)

In conversation with leading figures in the world of EDA, Gabe Moretti, considers the different approaches to IP modeling in today’s SoC designs.

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor.

Blog Review – Monday, January 19 2015

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Test case for lazybones; Mongoose in space, heads for Pluto; solar tracker design; new age shopping; IoT insight – the real challenge

The size of SoCs, security around EDA tools and the effort needed to test tool issues are all hurdles that can be mounted, asserts Uwe Simm, Cadence. His comprehensive post explains how the Test Case Optimizer (TCO) – a small generic (as in no special tools required or design styles are required) – can strip down simulation source files and reduce overal source input data size by over 99%.

After a stellar break, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reached Pluto. Not only does it have the ashes of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto, it has a Mongoose on board – in the form of a MIPS-based Mongoose-V chip. Alexandru Voica, Imagination, tells us more about the rad-hard device manufactured by Synova.

An interesting project, and a worthy one too, is relayed in the blog post by John McMillan (Mentor Graphics). Cool Earth Solar designs and develops solar products and uses PADS to develop some of the monitoring hardware for the equipment that tracks the sun, and transmits data for the project.

A subject close to my heart, shopping, is explored by David McKinney, Intel, who has a guest blog from Jon Bird, Y&R Labstore. How to harness the data that make up shopping patterns, without freaking out shoppers. A startling obvious observation is “Retailers must first and foremost be shopper-centric” but what does that mean in the digital age and the Internet of Things era?

Demonstrating a helpful nature, David Blaza, ARM, points us to a report by McKinsey, about the Internet of Things. As well as Blaza’s observation relating to ARM’s Cortex-M devices on the edge of the IoT and ARM Cortex-A at the hub and gateway level, I was struck by Joep Van Beurden’s observation that the IoT is not about prices or power but connecting the hardware in a smart way to the cloud.

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday, January 12th, 2015

New year resolutions from ARM, IP Extreme; CES highlights from Cadence, Synopsys, ARM partners; Mentor looks back at 2014; Imagination looks ahead

It wouldn’t be a January Blog Review without a mention of resolutions. Jacob Beningo, ARM, is disappointed that DeLoreans and hover boards are not filling the skies as predicted in Back to the Future, but he does believe that 2015 should be the year of sound, embedded software development resolutions.

A challenge is thrown down by McKenzie, IP Extreme, to ensure the company meets its new year resolution to update its blog. If you find that the company has missed posting a blog by midnight Wednesday (Pacific time) you can claim a $100 voucher for a chop or restaurant of your choice.

It wouldn’t be the week after CES, if there were no mentions of ‘that show’. Michael Posner, Synopsys, looked beneath the cars, entertainment devices and robots to focus on sensors (and to mention DesignWare Sensor and Control Subsystem, which designs them).

Brian Fuller, Cadence, interviews Martin Lund, senior vice president for Cadence’s IP Group, at CES. Lund has some interesting observations about audio and video demos at the show and insight into the role of IP.

ARM was everywhere at CES, and Brad Nemire, ARM, has some great videos on his blog, with demos of partners’ devices, and also a link to a Bloomberg interview with CEO Simon Segars.

International finance was not covered at CES, but the mobile money payment services described in the blog by Catherine Bolgar, Dassault Systemes has a lot of ‘CES criteria’, connectivity, innovation and commercial applications, as well as the Vegas connection with cash. It is an enlightening view of how technology can help those without deemed to expensive to reach and service by conventional banking institutions.

Looking back at 2014, Vern Wnek, Mentor, considers the overall winner of the longest running EDA awards, the Technology Leadership Awards, Alcatel-Lucent. The award winnning project was the 1X100GE packet module includes 100Gb/s of total processing power and signals operating at 6/12/28GHz.

A world without wired cables, is the vision of Alexandru Voica, Imagination, who checks just how close a cable-free life is; encouraged with some introductions from the company, of course.

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor.

Blog Review – Thurs, January 08 2015

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

CES, no I mean CPS; CES 2015, 2016 and beyond; Connected cars at CES; ISO 26262 help; Constraint coding clinic

No doubt anticipating a wearables deluge at CES, Margaret Schmitt, Ansys, cleverly uses this to her advantage and tailors her blog, not to ‘that Vegas show’ but to arguing the point for CPS (Chip Package System) co-analysis for shareable, workable data. She also avoids all mention of CES but reminds readers that the company will be at DesignCon later this month.

This time of year it is always a trial to find decent blog material. If it’s not a review of 2014, it will be preview of trends at CES, but some bloggers do it well. David Blaza, goes behind the glitz and straight to the semiconductor business of CES. He takes the view that looking at devices being launched will reveal more about CES 2016 or 2017 than this week’s show.

Sounding a little world-weary (or is that Vegas-weary?) Dick James and Jim Morrison, ChipWorks, fought the crowds at CES Unveiled, the press preview. Their tech-fatigue is entertaining and they also came up with five top themes. Most you could guess but the connected car is a new addition. It is a theme embraced by Drue Freeman, NXP, which is not surprising as the company is showcasing its RoadLINK secure connected car technology in Vegas this week.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich delivered a keynote at CES, illustrating how computer and human interactions are vital in this world of mobile computing everywhere. Scott Apeland refers to it in this blog about Intel’s RealSense technology and his enthusiasm knows no bounds. He includes descriptions of application examples and has sympathy for ‘those who haven’t had the good fortune’ to try the technology first hand. All that can be put right at the company’s booth.

This industry is the kind that wants to share and help fellow engineers and Kurt Shuler, Arteris, does just that with a glossary of ISO 26262 abbreviations and acronyms to help those attempting to wade through the functional safety standards.

Another helpful, detailed and timely blog is from Daniel Bayer, Cadence, discussing generative list pseudo methods in constraint for modelling and debugging. It is timely, as Ethernet-based communication is increasing in popularity and will require a different take on constraint coding.

Blog Review – Monday December 22 2014

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Women in engineering; Santa’s CFD plan; VIP list; Cadence focus at CES 2015; Microsoft Band teardown; DDR 4 disruption; celebrate energy efficiency

A daughter’s enjoyment in toy trains and train tracks is the source of inspiration for a genuinely concerned blog by Keith Hanna, Mentor. Why aren’t more girls studying engineering? He takes his parental knowledge and knowledge of engineering to ponder the question.

Computational fluid dynamics also provides a back-up plan for Father Christmas – just in case the premier sleigh develops a fault (bug?) on the night of the 24 th! Gilles Eggenspieler, Ansys and helper elves, have designed a new sleigh and his blog has the graphics to demonstrate effectiveness. He has even thoughtfully added in wind shield factor and stealth mode.

Things to remember about memory VIP: VIP Experts at Synopsys, advise of a technical seminar: Strategy to Verify an AXI/ACE Compliant Interconnect (1 of 4) – just in case the Christmas TV schedules lets you down this year.

Looking ahead to the 2015 CES, Jacek Duda, Cadence, gives a glimpse of what Cadence will show in Las Vegas, reflecting the company’s focus on system solutions, including a TIP/DIP combination for mobile devices (and next year’s Christmas presents?).

Tear-downs are always fun and David Maidment, ARM, takes a look inside a Microsoft Band and have taken a look inside. He uncovers the treasure trove of an ARM Cortex-M4-based Kinetis K24 microcontroller for wearable devices.

Self-confessed candidate for the naughty list, Nazita Saye, Mentor Graphics, finds an excuse to celebrate the energy saving that electronics devices enjoy with a list of must-haves and a snap of the office Christmas tree.

Double data rate memory is set to turn the industry on its head, predicts Brian Fuller, Cadence. His blog cites Kevin Yee, Cadence product marketing director, and speculates on economics as well as the physics of the memory form.

Merry Christmas, happy new year and keep on blogging!

Blog Review – Monday, December 15 2014

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Rolling up her sleeves and getting down to some hard work – not just words, Carissa Labriola, ARM, opens a promised series of posts with an intelligent, and through analysis of the Arduino Due and there is even the chance to win one. This is a refreshingly interactive, focused blog for the engineering community.

It’s coming to the end of the year, so it is only to be expected that there is a blog round-up. Real Intent does not disappoint, and Graham Bell provides his ‘Best of’ with links to blog posts, an interview at TechCon and a survey.

There is a medical feel to the blog by Shelly Stalnake, Mentor Graphics, beginning with a biology text book image of an organism to lead into an interesting discussion on parasitic extraction. She lists some advice – and more importantly – links to resources to beat the ‘pests’.

Always considerate of his readers, Michael Posner, Synopsys, opens his blog with a warning that it contains technical content. He goes on to unlock the secrets of ASIC clock conversion, referencing Synopsys of course, but also some other sources to get to grips with this prototyping tool. And in the spirit of Christmas, he also has a giveaway, a signed copy of an FPGA-Based Prototyping Methodology Manual if you can answer a question about HAPS shipments.

Another list is presented by Steve Carlson, Cadence, but his is no wishlists or ‘best of’ in fact it’s a worst-of, with the top five issues that can cause mixed-signal verification misery. This blog is one of the liveliest and most colorful this week, with some quirky graphics to accompany the sound advice that he shares on this topic.

Blog Review – Monday December 08 2014

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Industry forecasts sustained semi growth; EVs just go on and on; Second-chance webinar; Tickets please; Play time; Missed parade

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Bringing 2014 to a close on an optimistic note, Falan Yinug, director, Industry Statistics & Economic Policy, Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) tries to understand the industry’s quirky sense of timing while reporting that the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) program revised its full-year 2014 global semiconductor sales growth forecast to 9% ($333.2 billion in total sales) an increase from the 6.5% it forecast in June. It also forecasts that positive sales trend to continue with a 3.4% increase in sales in 2015 ($344.5 billion in total sales) and beyond, with $355.3 billion in 2016.

First road rage, now range anxiety. Apparently it is a common ailment for EV (electric vehicle) drivers. John Day, Mentor Graphics, takes heart from a report by IDTechEx which says that a range extender will be fitted to each of the 8million hybrid cards produced in 2025 and predicts the introduction in 2015 of hybrid EVs with fuel cell range extenders and multi-fuel jet engines to increase driver options.

It’s hardly a stretch to find someone who remembers using public transport before MIFARE ticketing, but Nav Bains, NXP looks at the next stage for commuters using a single, interoperable programming interface for commuters to tap NFC mobile devices to provide the ticketing service.

More time-warp timings, as Phil Dworsky, ARM, tells of a webinar entitled Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Verifying Cache-Coherent ARM-based Designs, which has been and gone but can be watched again, simply by registering. He even lists the speakers (Neill Mullinger and Tushar Mattu, both Synopsys) and lists what you missed but what you can catch again in the recorded webinar.

Enamoured with e code, Hannes, Cadence, directs people who just don’t get it to the edaplayground website, with links to a video for e-beginners.

Recap of what you missed, impactful blogs from the last 3 months
Perhaps frustrated that no-one seems to have notice, Michael Posner, Synopsys, patiently outlines some of his favourite blog posts from the last couple of months. He wants to draw your attention to prototyping in particular (it features heavily in the list) as well as abstract partitioning and the joy of vertical boards.

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