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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 – 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, November 6, 2017

Monday, November 6th, 2017

This week, we find that ANSYS gets hyper about Hyperloop development, Xilinx puts its mind to networks, Maxim supports factory automation and NXP, Mentor and ON Semiconductor explain why and how a product can be used.

A positively upbeat tone is set by Maxim Integrated’s Jeff DeAngelis, as he looks at how Industry 4.0 and automation is bringing back jobs. He looks at how being competitive through automation is leading to reshoring activity.

The now infamous ‘Jeep hack’ is the starting point for Timo van Roermund, the security architect at NXP considers what safeguards are needed and how the car domain needs to be re-thought for security on the roads. As well as citing several NXP products, there are also some useful links.

There’s a new look to the Mentor Graphics blogs and Michael Nopp uses it to good effect to take us through the company’s PADS Professional. His use of clear, colourful graphics adds to a simply told design guide.

Who isn’t super-excited about Hyperloop technology at the moment? Adora Anound Tadros, HyperXite guests on the ANSYS site to tell us how the team from University of California, Irvine, used simulation tools for its entry in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition. The team is gaining momentum and was in the top six of this year’ competition and is planning to compete again in 2018 – with a self-propulsion pod design.

Smile, you’re on camera, says an image-conscious Jason Liu, ON Semiconductor. He looks at the changing roles of cameras in our lives and introduces the company’s digital image sensor.

Another current favourite topic is neural networks. Steve Leibson proudly relates how a team at the University of Birmingham in the UK has implemented a deep recurrent neural network on a Xilinx Zynq Z-7020 SoC using the Python programming language.

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 – Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Monday, September 11th, 2017

We have found ways to tune up the testbench from Cadence; a vision of smart cities from BDTI; the Crotian EV market; and for Mentor and Maxim, it’s competition time!

Introducing the idea of an east European country innovating in automotive design, Alyssa, Dassault Systemes, profiles Rimac Automobili, Croatia, and its Concept_One electric vehicle. The company profile and link with 3DExperience makes an interesting read.

Hoping to change perspectives on testbench practises, the Xteam, Cadence Design Systems, looks into how test time can be reduced for modern SoCs using its Perspec tool.

Trying to put a silver lining on the cloud of the end of the summer, rkasnick, Mentor Graphics, has details of the Digi-Key Electronics Back2School contest (limited to US and Canada students). The offer of free, perpetual license of PADS MakerPro design software is not to be sniffed at, and there are other prizes for young maker engineers.

The news behind the partnership deal with SiFive, to bring embedded analytics to more RISC-V application, are given by Rupert Baines, UltraSoC. More than just a new member of the DesignShare program, could this latest partnership be indicative of a shift happening in the industry for a more democratized design methodology?

It makes sense – time saved at the design stage can translate to more time for interests and hobbies. After a rather clumsy boast about frequent flyer miles nanoMan, Maxim Integrated introduces the EE-Sim Power Designer Challenge. Crossword buffs should give it a go, there’s a chance to win a Garmin fēnix 5 watch.

Clutching his smartphones, Jeff Bier, BDTI, considers embedded vision for smart cities of the future. His ideas for smart cities are not revolutionary, but he concisely identifies the key technologies needed to make computer vision-based systems an opportunity not to be missed.

An insight into what may be in store for 5G is reported on by John Blyler, Chip Design. His report on the Imec Technology Forum Southeast Asia in Singapore, looks at two products developed by imec and the target market of below 60GHz smartphones.

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, 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 22, 2017

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

This week’s collection looks at what’s needed for autonomous cars; Qt tackles flaky tests, Sonics seeks wonderment, and blogs for design advice

Just as drivers choose their cars to meet their needs, so driverless cars need an assortment of processors, argues Intel’s Kathy Winter. She likens the designer’s toolbox to a golf bag with something for every dilemma encountered.

Reporting from the bi-annual GENIVI meeting in Birmingham, England, Andrew Pattersen, Mentor Graphics, learns that big data ownership could be a bone of contention in the next business model for the automotive industry.

Autonomous automotive development requires a thorough understanding of a variety of protocols for automation, electronics control and software. Jaspreet Singh Gambhir, Synopsys, explains how verification offerings can accelerate design.

It is always fun to hear about design mishaps and Sudhir Sharma, ANSYS, entertains with some he has come across to explain why digital twins and physics-based simulation not only meets design objectives but can save costs and boost profitability.

Where’s the wonder?, wonders Randy Smith, Sonics, marveling at why more people were impressed at the Machine Learning Developers Conference as he learned about Wave Computing’s dataflow for deep learning.

Consistency is key for Frederik Gladhorn, Qt, as he investigates a metric infrastructure for what he calls flaky tests, which hamper a design’s progress, with some practical advice and examples.

Speaking directly to anyone struggling with multiple layer design, Parul Agarwal, Cadence Design Systems, has some thoughts and advice on how to use a multi-layer bus. The blog is illustrated with some useful images as a practical guide for anyone struggling with layer patterns.

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

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