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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

Blog Review – Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Among this week’s topics: two important announcements: the OpenFog Consortium and IEEE Standard for the Functional Verification Language e; a panel discusses the Internet and beyond; Mentor Graphics applies IoT to PCB design; FASTR accelerates the connected car and why USB is not as easy as 123

The importance of IP blocks is a given, but Rocke Acree, ON Semiconductor, explains how selection also has to consider technology and support tools. The company has collaborated with Hexius Semiconductor to qualify analog IP blocks to reduce design cycles and development time.

There are specific constraints, challenges and design requirements for PCBs designed for the burgeoning IoT market. John McMillan, Mentor Graphics has created a two-part blog focused on this topic.

Doing a quickstep around the topic of USB, Eric Huang, Synopsys, explores verification and FPGA prototyping for best results. He recommends some design rules, a test site, then curiously, throws in some political comment, a film review and dance-related jokes to end the blog.

It may not be an understatement by Rhonda Dirvin, ARM, to say that the day the OpenFog Consortium announced its reference architecture is the day we have all been waiting for. Hyperbole? Possibly not, as it defines how secure, interoperable products should be built – just what the connected world needs. She helpfully includes a link to the architecture, and a heads-up on a presentation at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain (Feb 27 to March 3).

If there is an award for Most Apt Acronym, the Future of Automotive Security Technology Research (FASTR) consortium, must be a contender. The uncredited Rambus blog reviews the brief history of the consortium, and discusses its recent manifesto, looking at why it is need for a secure, connected vehicle industry.

2017 begins with the publication of IEEE Std 1647 2016, the IEEE Standard for the Functional Verification Language e. of 2017. Efrat Shneydor, Cadence Design, looks at the enhancements which have been made and proficiently summarizes the highlights.

Generic connectivity is not enough – NASA has been designing, building and launching satellite systems with the goal of providing connectivity throughout the world. The concept and realities of the Internet of Space is the panel discussion topic, reported by John Blyler, Chip Design Magazine.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, October 10, 2016

Monday, October 10th, 2016

This week, bloggers look at the newly released ARM Cortex-R52 and its support, NVIDIA floats the idea of AI in automotives, Dassault Systèmes looks at underwater construction, Intrinsic-ID’s CEO shares about security, and there is a glimpse into the loneliness of the long distance debugger

There is a peek into the Xilinx Embedded Software Community Conference as Steve Leibson, Xilinx, shares the OKI IDS real-time, object-detection system using a Zynq SoC.

The lure of the ocean, and the glamor of Porsche and Volvo SUVs, meant that NVIDIA appealed to all-comers at its inaugural GPU Technology Conference Europe. It parked a Porsche Macan and a Volvo XC90 on top of the Ocean Diva, docked at Amsterdam. Making waves, the Xavier SoC, the Quadro demonstration and a discussion about AI in the automotive industry.

Worried about IoT security, Robert Vamosi, Synopsys, looks at the source code that targets firmware on IoT devices, and fears where else it may be used.

Following the launch of the ARM Cortex-R52 processor, which raises the bar in terms of functional safety, Jason Andrews looks at the development tools available for the new ARMv8-R architecture, alongside a review of what’s new in the processor offering.

If you are new to portable stimulus, Tom A, Cadence, has put together a comprehensive blog about the standard designed to help developers with verification reuse, test automation and coverage. Of course, he also mentions the role of the company’s Perspec System Verifier, but this is an informative blog, not a marketing pitch.

Undersea hotels sounds like the holiday of the future, and Deepak Datye, Dassault Systèmes, shows how structures for wonderful pieces of architecture can be realized with the company’s , the 3DExperience Platform.

Capturing the frustration of an engineer mid-debug, Rich Edelman, Mentor Graphics, contributes a long, blow-by-blow account of that elusive, thankless task, that he names UVM Misery, where a customer’s bug, is your bug now.

Giving Pim Tuyls, CEO of Intrinsic-ID, a grilling about security, Gabe Moretti, Chip Design magazine, teases out the difference between security and integrity and how to increase security in ways that will be adopted across the industry.

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, 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, January 25 2016

Monday, January 25th, 2016

In this week’s review, there is a Star Wars analogy, IoT security plans, a 30th anniversary and an unusual way of serving whisky

The dormant nature of some devices in the IoT are likened to the reawakening of Star Wars’ R2-D2 by Joe Hupcey III, Mentor Graphics. In an equally honorable and daring quest, he looks for the wisdom of ultra-low power design and verification for SoCs used in devices that wait a long time for reactivation.

FPGA with a dash of splash or on the rocks? Steve Leibson, Xilinx, explains how a bottle of fine whisky (scotch) ended up in a PC. It’s all in a good cause.

Three trends for embedded systems are identified by Amber Thousand, Critical Link. She explains how we should all be paying attention to user interfaces, the rise of complexity and integration, and a focus on core competencies.

This year marks 30 years since MIPS Computer Systems introduced the MIPS R2000 microprocessor chipset. Alexandru Voica, Imagination Technologies, considers the rise of RISC and where it has led.

Silicon is the best place to secure security features for the IoT, argues Matthew Rosenquist, Intel. He outlines the role Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) play in the cyber future.

Clearly not a man that travels light, Navrai Nandra, Synopsys, concluded that if storage space is limited, instead of trying to close a bulging suitcase, think about moving up. His wait at the airport inspired an interesting blog on 3D stack technology to triple NAND capacity.

Looking at what the IoT design wins means for design at advanced nodes, Vassilios Gerousis, Cadence, considers the design rules for 10nm.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday, January 11th, 2016

In this week’s review, as one blog has predictions for what 2016 holds, another reviews 2015. Others cover an autonomous flight drone; a taster of DesignCon 2016 and a bionic leg development.

Insisting it’s not black magic or fortune telling but a retelling of notes from past press announcements, Dick James, Chipworks, thinks 2016 will be a year of mixed fortunes, with a low profile for leading edge processes and plenty of activity in memory and sensors as the sectors reap the rewards of developments being realized in the marketplace.

Looking back on 2015, Tom De Schutter, Synopsys, is convinced that the march of software continues and world domination is but a clock cycle away. His questions prompted some interesting feedback on challenges, benefits and working lives.

Looking ahead to autonomous drone flight, Steve Leibson, Xilinx, reports on the the beta release of Aerotenna’s OCPoC (Octagonal Pilot on Chip) ready-to-fly drone-control, based on a Zynq Z-7010 All Programmable SoC with integrated IMU (inertial measurement unit) sensors and GPS receiver.

Bigger isn’t always better, explains Doug Perry, Doulos, in a guest blog for Aldec. As well as outlining the issues facing those verifying larger FPGAs, he provides a comprehensive, and helpful, checklist to tackle this increasingly frequent problem, while throwing in a plug for two webinars on the subject.

Some people have barely unpacked from CES, and ANSYS is already preparing for DesignCon 2016. Margaret Schmitt previews the company’s plan for ‘designing without borders’ with previews of what, and who, can be seen there.

A fascinating case study is related by Karen Schulz, Gumstix, on the ARM Community blog site. The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago has (RIC) has developed the first neural-controlled bionic leg, without using no nerve redirection surgery or implanted sensors. The revolution is powered by the Gumstix Overo Computer-on-Module.

Showing empathy for engineers struggling with timing closure, Joe Hupcey III, Mentor Graphics, has some sound advice and diagnoses CDC problems. It’s not as serious as it sounds, CDC, or clock domain crossing, can be addressed with IEEE 1801 low power standard. Just what the doctor ordered.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

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