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Blog Review – Tuesday March 10, 2015

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

An interesting and informative tutorial on connecting Ardino to the Internet when ‘in the wild’ is the topic that caught ARM’s Joe Hanson’s interest.

Sharing the secrets of SoC companies that accelerate the distributed design process, Kurt Shuler, Arteris, considers the interconnect conundrum.

Never one to shy away from the big question, Richard Goering, Cadence Design Systems, asks what is the key to IC design efficiency. He has some help, with panel members from the DVCON 2015 conference, organised by the Accellera Systems Initiative.

Contemplating NXP’s acquisition of Freescale, Ray Angers, Chip Works, and, with a series of bar charts and dot-graphics, deems the Euro-American couple a good match.

Experiencing an identity crisis, Jeff Bier, Berkley Design, is looking forward to attending Embedded Vision Summit, in May, and particularly, it seems, to the keynote by Mike Aldred, the lead robotics developer at Dyson.

The multi-lingual Colin Walls is brushing up on his Swedish as he packs for ESC (Embedded Conference Scandinavia) this week. He will speak at three sessions – Dynamic Memory Allocation and Fragmentation in C and C++, Power Management in Embedded Systems and Self-Testing in Embedded Systems, which he previews in this blog.

Delighted at Intel’s call for 3D IC, Zvi Or-Bach, MonolithIC 3D, argues that the packaging technology for SoCs, using data and graphics from a variety of sources.

Blogging from Mobile World Congress, Martijn van der Linden, NXP, looks at what the company is developing for the Internet of Things, including the connected, Tesla, car concept from Rinspeed.

Anyone looking into serial data transfers to replace parallel data transfer, can discover more from the blog, posted by Saurabh Shrivastava, Synopsys. The acceleration of PCI Express based systems’ verification and the difference power states of the interface has never been more relevant.

Blog Review – Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Next week may be a test for the German language skills of Colin Walls, Mentor Graphics, as he returns to Nuremberg for Embedded World 2015, where he will be presenting papers at the conference. He previews both How to Measure RTOS Performance and Self-Testing in Embedded Systems. And issues an invitation to drop by the company booth.

Another heads-up for Embedded World from Chris A Ciufo, eecatalog, who discusses heterogeneous computing, and not only how it can be applied, but what is needed for effective execution.

After seven years, start-up Soft Machines was ready to unveil its VISC (Variable Instruction Set Computing) CPU cores at Cadence’s Front-End Design Summit. Richard Goering unpicks the innovation that could revive performance/W scaling to boost power and performance.

A heart-warming case study from Artie Beavis, Atmel, shows how ARM-based wearable technology is being put to good use with the Unaliwar Kanega wristwatch, for the elderly.

Patient Michael Posner is not going to let something like gate counts flummox him. He explains not only the nature of logic cells – with some help from Xilinx – but always flags up a warning and advice for any prototype attempting to map RTL code.

Dark silicon, the part of a device which shuts down to avoid over-heating, is getting darker. Zvi Or-Back, MonolithIC 3D, believes his company’s architecture can throw light on a semiconductor industry that is on the brink of being derailed by the creep of dark silicon.

By 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 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 – 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.

Blog Review – Monday Nov. 10, 2014

Monday, November 10th, 2014

John Haslet Hall, remembered; Cadence reminds us IoT is not so easy; ARM reaches out; Verification Academy learns to network; Sneeze please, you’re on Ansys simulation software.

John Haslet Hall (July 11, 1932 – October 30, 2014) is remembered by Graham Bell, Real Intent. The co-founder of Intersil was responsible for many milestone in our industy.

Panelists at the Cadence Mixed-Signal Technology Summit recognised the need for an ecosystem, process tools and IP and some co-operation. Richard Goering transcribes the insightful comments in his blog.

Offering a peek into his social calendar, Paul Rako, explains how a dinner with Bob Martin, Atmel, opened his eyes to ARM being more than just hardware IP. After checking with David Mathis, he shares some of Bob Martin’s thoughts, hints and tips on the architecture.

As the number of IPs integrated into SoCs increases, the Verification Academy clearly has a role to play and Matthew Ballance directs readers to how they can access its resources bringing old and new schools of thought together.

It’s true, your mother did know best, confirms Gilles Eggenspieler. I learned that “sniffs and sneezes spread diseases, catch them in your hank-er-chee-s” but a 21 st century teaching method is the simulation created by FAA Center of Excellence at Purdue University, using Ansys software to study pathogen travel in airplane cabins. Fascinating – but gross!

Blog Review – Monday Oct. 20, 2014

Monday, October 20th, 2014

OCP-onwards and upwards; infotainment in Paris; lend a hand to ARM; Cadence anticipates 10nm FinFET process node.

By Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

An online tutorial from Accellera Systems Initiative, “OCP: The Journey Continues” is a five-part tutorial spanning the past, present and future of the OCP (Open Core Protocol) IP interface socket standard. Drew Wingard draws it to our attention, as one of the presenters, discussing OCP in SoC designs, such as verification IP support, TLM 2.0 SystemC support and IP-XACT support is Herve Alexanian, Sonics and himself as well as Steve Masters, Synopsys and Prashant Karandikar, Texas Instruments.

Elektrobit and Nuance have integrated voice with natural language understanding (NLU) in the virtual cockpit in Audi’s TT Roadster which is being shown at the Paris Motor Show. John Day, Mentor Graphics marvels at the results and speculates on its practical uses.

A plea from ARM’s Brad Nemire, to the community which celebrates its first anniversary this month. He invites comment on the community and proposed changes, all designed to make the community interactive and responsive. He promises the survey will only take five minutes of your time.

An informative review of technical presentations at the recent TSMC Open Innovation Platform (OIP) Ecosystem Forum prepares the reader of 10nm FinFET process node. Richard Goering Cadence, includes some graphics from two keynotes for those who could not make the Forum, with some warnings of what it will mean for design.

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