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Blog Review, Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday, September 12th, 2016

This week, we find the legacy of Star Trek at 50; celebrate design challenges from NXP and Hackster.io; investigate criminal activity and speculate on Bluetooth 5 and headphone design; arriving late for an FPGA verification tutorial and how depth sensors make sense of a 3D world

The enduring appeal of Star Trek on its 50th anniversary sets Tom Smithyman, Ansys, thinking about communications, and how Qualcomm challenged engineers to emulate the great and the good of the USS Enterprise and create Dr McCoy’s medical tricorder.

Another challenge is laid down by NXP, which has teamed up with Hackster.io, for engineers to fulfil the potential of NXP’s Kinetis FlexIO for the IoT. Donnie Garcia, ARM, tracks how engineers can maximize the, often over-looked, microcontrollers at the edge of the IoT, with some arachnid-like illustrations.

Quoting a bank robber is an unusual opening for a technology blog, but Matthew Rosenquist, Intel, uses Willie Sutton to help us understand the cybercriminal. His blog about cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, and how to protect transactions is a detailed look at the cyber economy – and this is just part one.

Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack in its latest phone has been met with derision, but one positive is that it has prompted Paul Williamson, ARM, to speculate on the whether wireless accessories could be boosted as Bluetooth 5 brings faster data rates.

How have I missed the first three parts of Mentor Graphics’ Harry Foster’s blog about Functional Verification? Part 4 looks at FPGA verification and some handy ‘escapes’ for effective verification, written by an engineer, for engineers.

Anyone designing consumer electronics will be familiar with the DDR PHY interface (DFI) protocol for signal, timing and transfer. Deepak Gupta, Synsopsys has written a clear, comprehensive analysis of how and why it is needed and used most effectively.

Continuing a theme he has explored before, Jeff Bier, Berkeley Design Technology, looks at depth sensing and what companies are doing with varieties of depth sensors.

We all love Whiteboard Wednesdays, and Corrie Callenbach, Cadence Design Systems, highlights Michelle Mao’s hierarchical CNN design for traffic sign recognition, highlighting Tensilica Vision DSPs.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday, August 29th, 2016

This week’s blogs are futuristic, with machine learning, from Intel, augmented reality from Synopsys, smart city software from Dassault Systèmes, questions and answers about autonomous vehicles, and security issues, around devices and MQTT on the IoT.

Artificial intelligence is the next great wave, predicts Lenny Tran, Intel. His post looks at machine learning and Intel’s High Performance Computing architecture is part of the way forward in machine learning.

On a similar theme, Hezi Saar, Synopsys, examines the Microsoft 28nm SoC and is impressed with the possibilities for augmented reality that the HoloLens Processing Units has for this developing marketplace.

If you are dissatisfied with your present office location, Dassault Systèmes has plans for smart faciliites, reports Akio. He describes some illuminating projects using 3D Experience City, real-time monitoring, the IoT and systems operations for a comfortable workspace in smart cities.

It’s all about teamwork according to Brandon Wade, Aldec, who offers an introduction to the AXI protocol. His post summarizes the protocol specifications and shares his revelation at how understanding the protocol opens up a world of design possibilities.

Autonomous cars are occupying a lot of Eamonn Ahearne’s, ON Semiconductor, time. Living in the hotbed of self-drive test, he reads, visits and analyses what is happening and is disappointed that hardware is being eclipsed by software in the popularity stakes.

Also occupied with autonomous vehicles, Andrew Macleod, Mentor Graphics, starts with an update on electric vehicles, and moves onto the disconnect between ADAS technologies and autonomous vehicles and the engineering challenges that can be addressed using a single ECU (Engine Control Unit).

Attending the Linley Mobile & Wearables Conference, Paul McLellan, Cadence Design Systems, pays attention to Asaf Ashkenazi of Cryptography Research (now part of Rambus) and his well-illustrated post reports how devices can be secured.

An IoT network, powered by the ISO/IEC PRF 20922 standard MQTT (MQ Telemetry Transport) can be at risk, warns Wilfred Nilsen, ARM. It is a sound warning about personal information being vulnerable to MQTT brokers. Luckily, he offers a solution, introducing the SMQ IoT protocol.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, August 15 2016

Monday, August 15th, 2016

In this collection, we define the IoT, investigate IP fingerprinting, and break into vehicles in the name of crypto-research. There is also prophesizing about 5G and disruption technology for technology, and relationship advice for computing and data.

Empathizing with anyone who has ever struggled with CMSIS RTOS API, Liviu Ionescu, ARM, offers a helping hand, catalogues the issues that can be encountered and reassures designers they are not alone and, more importantly, offers practical help.

Putting IP fingerprints to work may sound like the brief for an episode of CSI, but it is Warren Savage’s, (IP-extreme) recipe for successful SoC tapeout. He does do some CSI-style digging to thoroughly explain how to delve into a chip’s IP to limit the risks associated with IP reuse.

Listening intently at the Linley Mobile Conference, Paul McLellan, Cadence, sees the advent of 5G as good news for high-capacity, high-speed, low-latency wireless networks and linked with all things IoT.

Famous couplings, love and marriage, horse and carriage, could be joined by computing and data. Rob Crooke, Intel, believes that an increase in data and increased computing will transform cloud computing, but that memory storage has to keep up to realize smart cities to autonomous vehicles, industrial automation, medicine, immersive gaming to name a few. His post covers 3D XPoint and 3D NAND technology.

On security detail this week, Gabe Moretti, Chip Design magazine, finds a white paper from Intrinsic-ID that he recommends on the topic of embedded authentication which is vital to the secure operation of the IoT.

At the end of this year, the last Volkswagen Camper, (or kombi) van, will roll off the assembly line in Brazil. Robert Vamosi, Synopsys, includes the iconic vehicle in his post about a hack related in a paper authored by researchers at the University of Birmingham to clone a VW remote entry systems. The paper was presented at the Usenix cybersecurity conference in Austin, Texas, with reassurances that the group is in ‘constructive’ talks with VW.

For a vintage automobile to the latest, EV and PHEVs, Andrew Macleod, Mentor Graphics, looks at disruption they may bring to the automotive industry. Referring to account technology manager Paul Johnston’s presentation at 2016 IESF, he touches on the electrical engineering and embedded software challenges as well as the predicted scale of the EV industry.

Still looking at a market rather than the technology, Alex Voica, Imagination Technologies, looks at the IoT. He has some interesting graphs and statistics and asks some interesting questions around definitions, from what is the IoT and what defines a device.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday, July 25th, 2016

This week, the blogsphere is chasing Pokemon, applying virtual reality as a medical treatment, cooking up a treat with multi-core processors, revisiting Hybrid Memory Cube, analysing convergence in the automotive market – and then there was the ARM acquisition

Have you bumped into anyone, head down as they hunt for Pickachu in Pokémon GO? Eamonn Ahearne, ON Semiconductor vents some frustration but also celebrates the milestone in virtual reality that is sweeping the nation(s).

Virtual reality is also occupying Samantha Zee, Nvidia, who relates an interesting, and moving, case study about pain management using virtual reality

The role of the car is changing, and Andrew Macleod, Mentor Graphics, identifies that convergence is a driving force, boosting mobility with an increase in the vehicle’s electronics content, presenting new challenges for system engineers.

You are always going to grab my attention with a blog that mentions food, or a place where food can be made. Taylor K, Intel, compares multi-core processors to a kitchen, albeit an industrial one. Food for thought.

Virtualization is revitalizing embedded computing, according to Alex Voica, Imagination Technologies. The blog has copious mentions of the company’s involvement in the technology, but also some design ideas for IoT, device authentication, anti-cloning and robotics.

What will the SoftBank acquisition of ARM mean for the IoT industry, ponders Gabe Moretti, Chip Design Magazine. Is SoftBank underestimating other players in the market?

Still with ARM, which recently bought UK imaging company, Apical, Freddi Jeffries, ARM, has a vision – how computing will use images, deep learning and neural networks. Exciting times, not just for the company, but for the industry.

Micron’s Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) architecture is five years old, so Priya Balasubramanian, Cadence Design Systems, delves into the memory technology which is having a mini resurgence, and the support options available.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Wi-Fi evolves, and the latest certification, 802.11ac Wave 2, is introduced by Richard Edgar, Imagination Technologies. His blog considers the structure, benefits and how the Ensigma Explorer RPU architecture fits in.

A video speaks a thousand words, and the complex area of IoT security is illustrated well by a video Wilfred Nilsen, ARM includes about the Chain of Trust. It shows how to create an Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) certificate for the server, how to install it, and how to build trust with clients.

Another helping hand is offered by Debbie Dekker, ARM, who pre-announces the TrustZone for ARMv8-M training webinars later this month. A handy agenda includes what attendees can expect.

The IoT is analyzed as a business proposition across many industry sectors, by Olivier Ribet, Dassault Systèmes. He looks at the 3Cs: Connected, Contextual and Continuous experiences, under the title, Internet of Experience.

To mis-quote Nancy Sinatra, “these boots were made for wah, wah”. The Atmel Team missed the obvious joke of being able to play sole music, with the All Wah pair of Converse, showcasing the prototype by Critical Mass design agency. The video shows the plug in version, but it can be wireless too.

Dividing pessimists and optimists, Lisa Piper, Real Intent looks at unknown value, or X-pessimism in verification, using the company’s Ascent XV.

Learning from DAC still goes on, as Christine Young, Cadence Design Systems, recalls how a visit from an NXP employee shows the value of distributed static timing analysis in large designs.

How to model using SPICE in the absence of a good fuel cell has perplexed Darrell Teegarden, Mentor Graphics. He presents a lengthy solution to how to model when not all of the details are known.

Thinking ahead is taken to extremes by Tom De Schutter, Synopsys, with a tale of the Tesla Model 3 and the loyalty built up by FPGA-based prototyping systems by engineers.

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday May 16, 2016

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Ramifications for Intel; Verification moves to ASIC; Connected cars; Deep learning is coming; NXP TFT preview

Examining the industry’s transition to 5G, Dr. Venkata Renduchintala, Intel, describes the revolution of connectivity and why the company is shifting its SoC focus and exploit its ecosystem.

Coming from another angle, Chris Ciufo, Intel Embedded, assess the impacts of the recently announced changes at Intel, including the five pillars designed to support the company: data center, memory, FPGAs, IoT and 5G, with his thoughts on what it has in its arsenal to achieve the new course.

As FPGA verification flows move closer to those of ASICs, Dr. Stanley Hyduke, Aldec, looks at why the company has extended its verification tools for digital ASIC design, including the steps involved.

Software in vehicles is a sensitive topic for some, since the VW emissions scandal, but Synopsys took the opportunity of the Future Connect Cars Conference in Santa Clara, to highlight its Software Integrity Platform. Robert Vamosi, Synopsys, reports on some of the presentations at the event on the automotive industry.

Identifying excessive blocking in sequential programming as evil, Miro Samek, ARM, write a spirited and interesting blog on real-time design strategy and the need to keep it flexible, from the earliest stages.

Santa Clara also hosted the Embedded Vision Summit, and Chris Longstaff, Imagination Technologies, writes about deep learning on mobile devices. He notes that Cadence Design Systems highlighted the increase in the number of sensors in devices today, and Google Brain’s Jeff Dean talked about the use of deep learning via GoogLeNet Inception architecture. The blog also includes examples of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) and how PowerVR mobile GPUs can process the complex algorithms.

This week, NXP FTF (Freescale Technology Forum), in Austin, Texas, is previewed by Ricardo Anguiano, Mentor Graphics. He looks at a demo from the company, where a simultaneous debug of a patient monitoring system runs Nucleus RTOS on the ARM Cortex-M4. He hints at what attendees can see using Sourcery CodeBench with ARM processors and a link to heterogeneous solutions from the company.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, April 25 2016

Monday, April 25th, 2016

System validation partnership; Cloud’s blue sky thinking; Happy 50 th optic fiber; Back to PCIe basics; Pointing the fingerprint; Financial forecast

Retracing his steps, Richard Solomon, Synopsys, looks at the progress of PCI Express, and more specifically, how to handle the bandwidth increases. This blog details some solid principles and extends an offer of help for developers.

Fresh from rubbing shoulders with attendees of the SAE World Congress automotive industry technical conference and tradeshow, Pete Decher, Mentor Graphics, clearly has his eye on the latest Tesla model and its plans for autonomous driving. He reviews reactions to V2X (Vehicle to Infrastructure & Vehicle to Vehicle) and ECU (Electronic Control Unit) Consolidation.

Another review is delivered by Steve Brown, Cadence Design Systems, who attended the Optical Fiber Conference. He manages to celebrate the 50 th anniversary of fiber optic communications technology and looks at how it started and where it’s going.

Poring over financials is not everyone’s idea of fun, but Chris Ciufo, eecatalog, takes one for the team and compiled this blog about the economical outlook for the technology industry. He considers the role of the IoT, autonomous vehicles and their role on productivity.

Best practice for cloud computing is set out in the blog from Wim Slagter, ANSYS. He elaborates on eight Dos and Don’ts for High Performance Computing (HPC) and cloud computing to maximize it for engineering simulation.

Identifying the bottleneck of functional validation in SoC design, Eoin McCann, ARM, examines some of the IP tools the company offers to its ecodesign partners

New tools reduce the risk of IP reuse, believes Warren Savage, IP Extreme. He sets out a clear case for fingerprinting IP, a brief checklist and explains how Chip DNA Analysis software can be used in SoC design.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review Monday April 11 2016

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Mbed development board seeks therapy; in praise of HPC; IoT security – can it be improved?; EDAC name change; acquisition fever runs high

Checking and testing safety critical systems can be performed using the Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC (AP SoC) with dual ARM Cortex-A9 processors, and dual Neon FPUs. Austin, Xilinx, explains the routine.

Therapy from an mbed development board may not threat therapists just yet, but ELIZA, the computer program that simulates a psychotherapist, is now available for the mbed platform. The obvious question to ask Wilfred Nilsen, ARM, is “How do you feel about that?”

Who needs High Performance Computing (HPC), asks Wim Slagter, Ansys. He addresses computing as a strategic asset, scalability benefits and what to do with a server cluster.

The Internet of Things (IoT) security market will be worth $28.90 billion by 2020, yet it is flawed, argues an unattributed blog from Rambus. Interviews with Simon Blake-Wilson and Ted Harrington, Rambus, assess how much ground needs to be made up.

Still with security, Robert Vamosi, Synopsys reports on the Synopsys and Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) collaboration to create the UL Cybersecurity Assurance Program (UL CAP). The aim is to increase transparency and confidence in the security of network-connectable devices using expertise from both camps.

Looking ahead to the connected car, Andrew Macleod, Mentor Graphics, considers what will be coming together for a centralized processing system, handling communications and autonomous driving functions. The vehicle’s systems will be consolidated, but how best to achieve that is up for debate.

It may take some people a while to adjust, but the EDA Consortium has changed its name to the Electronic System Design Alliance. Gabe Moretti, Chip Design Magazine, looks at the whys and wherefores behind the change and the expertly analyses the Alliance’s expanded charter.

Intel has bought Yogitech, the functional safety company and Ken Caviasca, Intel, looks at what this means for the company and, in particular, its IoT offering.

Still with acquisitions, it is all getting a bit too much for Chris Ciufo, eecatalog, who traces some recent ‘musical chairs’ before focusing on what the Mercury Computer purchase of three Microsemi businesses will meet for the military market.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, March 21 2016

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Coffee breaks and C layers; Ideas for IoT security; Weather protection technology; Productivity boost; Shining a light on dark silicon

Empathizing with his audience, Jacek Majkowski, sees the need for coffee but not necessarily a C layer in Standard Co-Emulation Modelling Interface (SCE-MI).

At last week’s Bluetooth World, in Santa Clara, CA, there was a panel discussion – Is the IoT hype or hope? Brian Fuller, ARM, reports on the to-and-fro of ideas from experts from ARM, Google, and moderated by Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.

Of all the things to do on a sabbatical, Matt Du Puy, ARM, chose to climb Dhaulagiri (26,795feet /8161m), described as one of the most dangerous 8,000m mountains. Brian Fuller, ARM, reports that he is armed a GPS watch with cached terrain data and some questionable film choices on a portable WiDi disk station.

Still with extremes of weather, the Atmel team, enthuses about a KickStarter project for the Oombrella, a smart umbrella that uses sensors to analyse temperature, pressure, humidity and light, to let you know if you will need it because rain is coming your way. Very clever as long as you remember to bring it with you. Not so appealing is the capacity to share via social media the type of weather you are experiencing – and they say the Brits are obsessed with the weather!

IoT protection is occupying an unidentified blogger at Rambus, who longs for a Faraday cage to shield it. The blog has some interesting comments about the make up of, and security measures for the IoT, while promoting the company’s CryptoManager.

Still with IoT security, Richard Anguiano, Mentor Graphics examines a gateway using ARM TrustZone, and heterogeneous operating system configurations and running Nucleus RTOS and Mentor Embedded Linux. There is a link provided to the Secure Converged IoT Gateway and the complete end-to-end IoT solution.

Europe is credited as the birthplace for the Workplace Transformation, but Thomas Garrison, Intel. Ahead of CEBIT he writes about the role of Intel’s 6 th Generation Core vPro processor and what it could mean for a PC’s battery life, compute performance and the user’s productivity.

The prospects for MIPI and future uses in wearables, machine learning, virtual reality and automotive ADAS are uppermost in the mind of Hezi Saar, Synopsys, following MIPI Alliance meetings. He was particularly taken with a Movidius vision processor unit, and includes a video in the blog.

Examining dark silicon, Paul McLellan, Cadence Design Systems, wonders what will supercede Dennard Scaling to overcome the limitations on power on large SoCs.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, March 07, 2016

Monday, March 7th, 2016

IP fingerprinting; Beware- 5G!; And the award goes to – encryption; Fear of FinFET; Smart kids; Virtual vs real hardware

Keeping an eye on the kids blends with wearable technology, as demonstrated by the Omate Whercom K3, which debuted at Mobile World Congress 2016. It relies on a 3G Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A7 and an ARM Mali-400 GPU, relates Freddi Jeffries, who interviews Laurent Le Pen, CEO of Omate.

The role of MicroEJ has evolved since its inception. Brian Fuller, ARM, looks at the latest incarnation, bringing mobile OS to microcontroller platforms such as the ARM Cortex-M.

Rather overshadowned by the Oscars, the winner of this year’s Turing Award could have more impact on everyday lives. It was won, says Paul McLellan, Cadence Design Systems, by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman for the invention of public key cryptography. His blog explains what the judges liked and why we will like their work too.

The inclusion of a Despicable Me photo/video is not immediately obvious, but Valerie Scott, Mentor Graphics makes a sound argument for the use of a virtual platform and includes a (relevant) image of the blog’s example hardware, the NXP i.MX6 with Vista.

Everyone is getting excited about 5G, and Matthew Rosenquist, Intel, sounds a note of caution and encourages readers to prepare for cyber risks as well as the opportunities that the technology will bring.

Fed up with FinFET issues? Graham Etchells, Synopsys, offers advice on electro-migration, why it happens and why the complexity of FinFETs does not have to mean it is an inevitable trait.

Efficiency without liabilities is the end-goal for Warren Savage, IP Extreme. He advocates IP fingerprinting and presents a compelling argument for why and how.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

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