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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, December 11, 2017

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

Looking through the blogshphere, we find packaging issues ahead of the holidays; Life on the IoT edge; billions of connected devices – what does it even mean? and taking nature’s lead in 3D printing

According to Paul McLellan, Cadence, Moore’s Law is running out of steam. He spoke to John Park about advanced packaging and heterogeneous integration.

Living life on the edge, Jeff Miller, Mentor Graphics, sets out a step program for IoT design and advocates a standardized directory structure.

Anticipating one trillion smart, connected devices, Christine Young, Maxim Integrated, looks to the future and what the predicted scale of connectivity will mean for intelligence gathering and sharing, and their role in emerging technologies, such as blockchain.

Taking a cue from nature’s own materials, Scott Goodrich, Fortify guest blogs for ANSYS to explain how magnetic fields were used in 3D printing to align fibers for high strength-to-weight ratio printed parts.

Consumer trends that signal the end of wired audio connections has set Mark Melvin, ON Semiconductor, thinking about hearing aids and adding intelligence via wireless connectivity with smartphones.

Trends for the semiconductor chip market are discussed by John Blyler and Jim Feldan, Semico Research. The complexity is increasing which could impact the number of design starts. One trend is IP reuse and this informative report looks into the facts and figures in great detail to provide an understanding of the industry direction.

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday, September 25th, 2017

This week, there are some prophecies: What does the future hold for the IoT and for vehicle design? Why is 3D facial recognition a sound idea and why the world should be divided into 3x3mm pieces.

A trillion devices in the IoT – and counting. Frank Schirrmeisster, Cadence, is worried about security, safety, design and verification and system architectures for the expanding IoT. Will next month’s Arm TechCon be able to allay some of this fears?

Calling for a holistic approach to DVFS, Don Dingee, Sonics, looks at what could be standing in the way of designers and what it might mean for IP sub-systems.

The reality of self-driving cars and the role of the connected car to achieve autonomous vehicles, is addressed by Randall Wollschlager, Maxim Integrated, in a Q&A with Christine Young.

Aiming to unite the world, Colin Walls, Mentor, calls for a universal GPS format that divides the world in to 3x3mm squares for pinpoint precision.

Channeling 007, CircuitStudio author, Altium, looks at the iPhone X and its 3D facial recognition technology, and examines how it’s done and for what ends.

Fresh from a trip to Asia, Sean Safarpour, Synopsys, is full of praise for formal verification and how it has been embraced by companies there.

Better than ‘dad dancing’ the robot dance is celebrated by Bob Rogers, Intel, who reviews the ‘Intel Day at Berkeley’. The event at UC Berkeley highlighted areas of research for AI, IoT, autonomous vehicles and surgeon robots.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday, August 14th, 2017

This week, the blogsphere reveals how FPGAs adopt a MeerKAT stance; OML brings life to Industry 4.0; Wearable pairing boosts charging and rigid-flex PCB design tips

A keen advocate of rigid-flex PCB design, Alexsander Tamari, Altium, offers sound design advice for the routing challenges that it may present. There is a link to an informative white paper too.

We love wearables but charging devices wirelessly can present problems, but luckily Susan Coleman, ANYS, is able to describe the company’s recent collaboration with RF2ANTENNA. She describes with tips for efficiency improvements using its tools.

Another classic challenge is taken on by Arthur Schaldenbrand, Cadence. He continues his analog design series and looks at process variation, and countering die costs, power dissipation, with reference to the use of Monte Carlo analysis.

Chip Design’s John Blyler talks to Mentor’s Director of Product Management, Warren Kurisu, about a biometrics game and increased productivity using the Cloud.

Discovering new galaxies is exciting but is demanding on processing power and memory speeds. Steve Leibson, Xilinx, reflects on what the MeerKAR radio telescope has achieved and how FPGAs have played a part.

Ruminating on this year’s SMT Hybrid Packaging event, Danit Atar, Mentor Graphics, reviews what she claims is the world’s first IoT live public demonstration of a manufacturing line, and how Open Manufacturing Language (OML) bring Industry 4.0 to life.

Software integrity is never far from an engineer’s mind, and David Benas, Synopsys, presents a compelling argument for implementing security measures into the software development life cycle (SDLC) from start to finish.

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

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, June 26, 2017

Monday, June 26th, 2017

This week, hot on the heels of DAC, a review of the Austin event; Intel administers a dose of precision medicine; Challenges for drivers; How to choose between a GPU or FPGA and a blockchain reaction for the IoT

DAC 2017 took place in Austin, Texas, and Paul MeLellan, Cadence Design Systems, was there and has collated a wide-ranging report, with day-by-day news, including bats and bagpipes from the 54 th incarnation of the event.

Writing from a very personal viewpoint, Bryce Olson, Intel, advocates precision medicine, and looks at Intel’s scalable reference architecture to speed up the research and answers in medical care.

Vehicle safety is critical, and Stephen Pateras, Mentor Graphics, looks at self-test and monitoring in autonomous cars, using the Tessent MissionMode architecture. He explains in a clear, detailed manner, the IC test capabilities and simulation for self-driving cars.

Still with vehicle design, Robert Vamosi, Synopsys, flags up the security hazards around the connected car as sensors proliferate and hackers ramp up their assaults. He advocates software security and the communication protection afforded by the IEEE 802.11p protocol.

A handy white paper is brought to our attention by Steve Leibson, Xilinx, for those deciding whether a GPU is better than an FPGA in cloud computing, machine leaning, video and image processing applications.

I learned a couple of things from Christine Young, Maxim Integrated this week. One is that there is a job title of ‘chief IoTologist’, the other was to put the term ‘blockchain’ into context for the IoT. She reports from the IoT World Conference about how blockchain, using advanced cryptography, provides a “tamper-proof distributed record of transactions” and how the IoT Alliance is occupied in developing a shared blockchain protocol as a common identifier to secure IoT products.

Starstruck John Blyler, looks at the reality behind the stardust and conducts an interview with Dr Clifford Johnson, physicist at University of Southern California and script adviser for the National Geographic Channel’s TV program, Genius, about Albert Einstein.

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 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

Cadence Launches New Verification Solutions

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor

During this year’s DVCon U.S. Cadence introduced two new verification solutions: the Xcelium Parallel Simulator and the Protium S1 FPGA-Based Prototyping Platform, which incorporates innovative implementation algorithms to boost engineering productivity.

Xcelium Parallel Simulator

.The new simulation engine is based on innovative multi-core parallel computing technology, enabling systems-on-chip (SoCs) to get to market faster. On average, customers can achieve 2X improved single-core performance and more than 5X improved multi-core performance versus previous generation Cadence simulators. The Xcelium simulator is production proven, having been deployed to early adopters across mobile, graphics, server, consumer, internet of things (IoT) and automotive projects.

The Xcelium simulator offers the following benefits aimed at accelerating system development:

  • Multi-core simulation improves runtime while also reducing project schedules: The third generation Xcelium simulator is built on the technology acquired from Rocketick. It speeds runtime by an average of 3X for register-transfer level (RTL) design simulation, 5X for gate-level simulation and 10X for parallel design for test (DFT) simulation, potentially saving weeks to months on project schedules.
  • Broad applicability: The simulator supports modern design styles and IEEE standards, enabling engineers to realize performance gains without recoding.
  • Easy to use: The simulator’s compilation and elaboration flow assigns the design and verification testbench code to the ideal engines and automatically selects the optimal number of cores for fast execution speed.
  • Incorporates several new patent-pending technologies to improve productivity: New features that speed overall SoC verification time include SystemVerilog testbench coverage for faster verification closure and parallel multi-core build.

“Verification is often the primary cost and schedule challenge associated with getting new, high-quality products to market,” said Dr. Anirudh Devgan, senior vice president and general manager of the Digital & Signoff Group and the System & Verification Group at Cadence. “The Xcelium simulator combined with JasperGold Apps, the Palladium Z1 Enterprise Emulation Platform and the Protium S1 FPGA-Based Prototyping Platform offer customers the strongest verification suite on the market”

The new Xcelium simulator further extends the innovation within the Cadence Verification Suite and supports the company’s System Design Enablement (SDE) strategy, which enables system and semiconductor companies to create complete, differentiated end products more efficiently. The Verification Suite is comprised of best-in-class core engines, verification fabric technologies and solutions that increase design quality and throughput, fulfilling verification requirements for a wide variety of applications and vertical segments.

Protium S1

The Protium S1 platform provides front-end congruency with the Cadence Palladium Z1 Enterprise Emulation Platform. BY using Xilinx Virtex UltraScale FPGA technology, the new Cadence platform features 6X higher design capacity and an average 2X performance improvement over the previous generation platform. The Protium S1 platform has already been deployed by early adopters in the networking, consumer and storage markets.

Protium S1 is fully compatible with the Palladium Z1 emulator

To increase designer productivity, the Protium S1 platform offers the following benefits:

  • Ultra-fast prototype bring-up: The platform’s advanced memory modeling and implementation capabilities allow designers to reduce prototype bring-up from months to days, thus enabling them to start firmware development much earlier.
  • Ease of use and adoption: The platform shares a common compile flow with the Palladium Z1 platform, which enables up to 80 percent re-use of the existing verification environment and provides front-end congruency between the two platforms.
  • Innovative software debug capabilities: The platform offers firmware and software productivity-enhancing features including memory backdoor access, waveforms across partitions, force and release, and runtime clock control.

“The rising need for early software development with reduced overall project schedules has been the key driver for the delivery of more advanced emulation and FPGA-based prototyping platforms,” said Dr. Anirudh Devgan, senior vice president and general manager of the Digital & Signoff Group and the System & Verification Group at Cadence. “The Protium S1 platform offers software development teams the required hardware and software components, a fully integrated implementation flow with fast bring-up and advanced debug capabilities so they can deliver the most compelling end products, months earlier.”

The Protium S1 platform further extends the innovation within the Cadence Verification Suite and supports the company’s System Design Enablement (SDE) strategy, which enables system and semiconductor companies to create complete, differentiated end products more efficiently. The Verification Suite is comprised of best-in-class core engines, verification fabric technologies and solutions that increase design quality and throughput, fulfilling verification requirements for a wide variety of applications and vertical segments.

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