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Blog Review – Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday, June 13th, 2016

DAC 2016 highlights; Medical technology and IoT; Autonomous car market races ahead; Remote controlled beer; Secure connectivity

Distinguishing between Big Data and Business Intelligence, ScientistBob, Intel, identifies a ‘watershed’ moment for Big Data and Intel’s steps with Intel Xeon processors to deliver the next step in data analytics.

In response to FCC regulations, the prpl Foundation addresses next-generation security for connected devices. Alexandru Voica, Imagination Techologies, has collected some useful information (demo, white paper, devices, kits and links) to show the progress made.

A fascinating medical application is detailed in Steve Leibso, Xilinx, as he describes how the Xynq-7000 SoC in an eye-tracking computer interface. The video is a little ‘salesy’ and could have benefitted from some more examples of use rather than talking heads but has some practical engineering information about how the processing moves to the SoC.

Continuing the medical theme, Thierry Marchal, ANSYS, tantalizes readers ahead of a medical IoT webinar (June 22) by Cambridge Consultants. He has some interesting statistics to put the topic into context, some graphics and an exploration of the communications protocols involved.

The 53 rd DAC saw ARM launch ARM Artisan physical IP, including POP IP, targeting mainstream mobile designs. Brian Fuller, ARM, adds some meat to the bones with comment from Will Abbey, general manager, ARM’s Physical Design Group.

Automotive design at DAC captured the interest of Christine Young, Cadence, who reports on the keynote by Lars Reger, CTO Automotive Business Unit, NXP Semiconductors. She looks at the security issues for vehicles from the family car to trucks.

Beer that comes to you takes the slog out of summer al fresco dining, doesn’t it? The Atmel team details the use of an ATmefa8 MCU for a remote controlled beer crate, with a link to the build recipe list.

Here in the UK, we are knee-deep in discussions about how to get on with our neighbours as an EU membership referendum looms. A model for happy international relations is here in the blog by Devi Keller, Semiconductor Industry Association, which records the 20 years of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC).

A trip to Detroit for Robert Bates, Mentor Graphics, for its IESF conference, was a source of great material for all things related to autonomous cars. Keynotes and networking led him to consider safety and neural network questions around the technology.

Putting it all into practise, the first Self Racing Cars track event is gleefully reported by Danny Shapiro, Nvidia. There are some great images capturing the spirit of a ground-breaking event. Last weekend a momentous event in the motorsports and automotive world took place. Of course, the company’s technology is used and there is a handy list of what was used and where.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Tuesday, May 31 2016

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Security issues around IoT and maritime vessels; CCIX Consortium accelerates data centers; Cheers for metering; Noise integrity in ADAS; Virtual Reality in practice

Protecting IoT devices is clearly and elegantly outlined by Jim Wallace, ARM, he includes illustrations, a lot of information and guidelines on advice on how security can produce new business models.

Accelerating data centers always raises interest and when names like AMD, ARM, Huawei, IBM, Mellanox, Qualcomm, and Xilinx come together. Steve Liebson, Xilinx, describes how the companies, via the CCIX (Cache Coherent Interconnect for Accelerators) Consortium are developing a single interconnect technology specification whereby processors using different instruction set architectures can share data with accelerators and enable efficient heterogeneous computing to improve efficiency.

Advocating an alternative to the plan to drink beer when the fresh water runs out, David Andeen, Maxim explains the importance of an ultrasonic water meter which can accelerate design cycles and reduce the cost of meters.

All in the name of research, Alexandru Voica, Imagination, tries his hand at Daydream, the Virtual Reality (VR) platform built on Android N and outlines the rules of VR.

Another cyber threat is identified by Robert Vamosi, Synopsys. His blog looks at research from Plymouth University and how vulnerable marine vessels can be at risk.

The undeniable increase in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) needs careful design consideration, and Ravi Ravikumar, ANSYS, discusses how the ANSYS CPS simulation helps power noise integrity to be met. His blog is informative, with some clear graphics to illustrate ADAS design.

For a quick catch-up on USB 3.1 and the Type-C connector, turn to Chris A Ciufo, eecatalog, for a quick reference guide. He includes some handy links for extra reading.

A review of the Bangalore, India, Design&Reuse event is provided by Steve Brown, Cadence Design Systems. A rundown of keynotes ends with a head-up for the next event.

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, February 29, 2016

Monday, February 29th, 2016

ARM and Xilinx Embedded World highlights; Mobile World Congress news; Sensors are on a roll; What makes MIPI?

Ahead of the ARM Cortex-A32 processor announcement at Embedded World and Mobile World Congress, ARM announced its latest real-time processor IP, the ARM Cortex-R8, designed for LTE-Advanced and 5G designs. Neil Wermuller, ARM goes into detail about the Cortex-R8 quad-core, real-time processor, building on the ARMv7-R architecture.

Also at Embedded World, Mentor Embedded teamed up with Xilinx which used demonstrated the Xilinx ZYNQ 7000 platform, hosting a Nucleus RTOS. Andrew Patterson, Mentor, describes how this can be used in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)

More power for less dollars is driving demand in the consumer market. Alexandru Voica, Imagination Technologies, explains how the latest additions to the PowerVR series, PowerVR Series8XE meets efficiency and performance requirements.

When someone says “pass the masking tape” do check that it’s not a sensor network. The Atmel team blogs about SensorTape, the MIT Media Lab’s Responsive Environments group project for a sensor network that is on a roll.

Ahead of the MIPI Alliance event (March 7), Hezi Saar, Synopsys looks at what makes up the specification as it moves from the mobile marketplace.

Using a real-life crime to illustrate hazards, ARM’s Simon Segars focused on security at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain last week, reports Paul McLellan, Cadence. Other areas of interest was virtual reality, and an appearance by F1 racing driver, Lewis Hamilton, under the guise of discussing CAN in vehicles and what street cars could learn from F1.

Still with Mobile World Congress, Gary Bronner, Rambus, is quoted in report of the demonstration there of thermal-enabled lensless smart sensor (LSS) technology, by Rambus Labs. With the capability to replace traditional thermal lenses for IoT in medical equipment, manufacturing as well as the less obvious smart cities and transportation, this is a new approach to imaging, driven by computing rather than optics.

Striving to reduce debug effort and increase productivity is a noble cause, championed by Aditya Mittal, Arrow Devices. He looks at the AX13 system bus and its virtues as well as the company’s PDA tool.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Research converts contact lens to computer screens; What to see at Embedded World 2016; Remembering Professor Marvin Minsky; How fast is fast and will the IoT protect us?

The possibilities for wearable technology, where a polymer film coating can turn a contact lens into a computer screen are covered by Andrew Spence Nanontechnology University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute. The lens can be used as a sensor to measure blood glucose levels to a pair of glasses acting as a computer screen.

If you are preparing your Embedded World 2016, Nuremberg, schedule, Philippe Bressy, ARM offers an overview of what will be at his favourite event. He covers the company’s offerings for IoT and connectivity, single board computing, software productivity, automotive and from ARM’s partners to be seen on the ARM booth (Hall 5, stand 338), as well as some of the technical conference’s sessions and classes.

Other temptations can be found at the Xilinx booth at Embedded World (Hall 1, stand 205). Steve Leibson, Xilinx explains how visitors can win a Digilent ARTY Dev Kit based on an Artix-7 A35T -1LI FPGA, with Xilinx Vivado HLx Design Edition.

Showing more of what can be done with the mbed IoT Device Platform, Liam Dillon, ARM, writes about the reference system for SoC design for IoT endpoints, and its latest proof-of-concept platform, Beetle.

How fast is fast, muses Richard Mitchell, Ansys. He focuses on the Ansys 17.0 and its increased speeds for structural analysis simulations and flags up a webinar about Ansys Mechanical using HPC on March 3.

If the IoT is going to be omnipresent, proposes Valerie C, Dassault, can we be sure that it can protect us and asks, what lies ahead.

A pioneer of artificial intelligence, Professor Marvin Minsky as died at the age of 88. Rambus fellow, Dr David G Stork, remembers the man, his career and his legacy on this field of technology.

I do enjoy Whiteboard Wednesdays, and Corrie Callenback, Cadence, has picked a great topic for this one – Sachin Dhingra’s look at automotive Ethernet.

Another thing I particularly enjoy is a party, and Hélène Thibiéroz, Synopsys reminds us that it is 35 years since HSPICE was introduced. (Note to other party-goers: fireworks to celebrate are nice, but cake is better!)

Caroline Hayes, European 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

Blog Review – Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Counting gates til the chickens come home to roost; Bio lab on a desk; Twin city goes digital; Back to the Future Day; Graphics SoC playground; Wearables get graphic

Something is troubling Michael Posner, Synopsys, when is a gate not a gate? He discusses the FPGA capacity of Xilinx’s UltraScale FPGAs and tries to find the answer. He also describes his Heath Robinson style light controlled chicken feeder he has installed in the chicken coop.

A desktop biolab sounds like something in a teenage boy’s room, but Amino is the ‘brainchild’ relates Atmel of Julie Legault. The Arduino-based bio-engineering system enables anyone to grow and take care of living cells. The mini lab allows the user to genetically transform an organism’s DNA through guided interactions. The Arduino-driven hardware monitors the resulting synthetic organism which needs to be fed nd kept warm. For those old enough to remember the Tamagotchi craze – it just moved up a gear.

3D computer models of buildings and cities take on a new role, demonstrated by Dassault Systèmes, whose 3DEXPERIENCity continuously generates the city as a digital twin city. Ingeborg Rocker explains how the IoT is used by the multi-dimensional data model which integrates population density, traffic density, weather, energy supply and recycling volumes data in real time to support city planners.

Recent acquisitions in the industry are analysed by Paul McLellan, Cadence Design Systems. Beginning with the acquisition of Carbon Design Systems by ARM, McLellan puts the deal in a market and engineering context. He moves on to the acquisition by Lam Research of KLA-Tencor and Western Digital which has bought SanDisk.

Putting the AMD R-Series through its paces, Christopher Hallinan, Mentor Graphics, delights in the versatility of the SoC, as discovered with Mentor Embedded Linux. He gives real-life examples of algorithms and how the visuals apply to industrial and scientific applications.

Celebrating a noteworthy date Back to the Future Day – October 21 2015 – Tobias Wilson-Bates, Georgia Tech, looks at how time travel has been portrayed in fiction. It gets philosophical: “One way to think about future speculations is to imagine that there are all these failed futures that co-exist with a present reality” but Marty would approve.

The acceptance of Mali-470 GPU to the wearables camp is complete. Dan Wilson, ARM, explains how the GPU is exploiting its OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics standard and power consumption for wearable and IoT applications.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, July 27 2015

Monday, July 27th, 2015

IoT for ADAS; ESC 2015 focuses on security; untangling neural networks; what drives new tools; consolidation conundrum; IoT growth forecast; three ages of FPGA

Likening a business collaboration to a road trip may be stretching a metaphor that would make Jack Kerouac blush, but David McKinney, Intel, presses on as he explains Intel and QNX’s ADAS solution, based on Intel IoT for automobiles. He includes some interesting links and a video to inform the reader.

A review of ESC 2015 shows that Chris Ciufo is not only ahead of the curve, advocating embedded security, but also not one to pass by a freebie at a show. He relates some of the highlights from the first day of the Santa Clara event.

Neural network processors hold promise for computer vision, believes Jeff Bier, BDTI. His blog explains what work is needed for the scale of computation the industry expects.

Posing an interesting question, Carey Robertson, Mentor Graphics, asks what prompts the development of new tools. He blends this with helpful information about the newly launched Calibre xACT extraction tool, without too much “hard sell”.

“It works!” is the triumphant message of the blog co-authored by Jacek Duda and Steve Brown, Cadence. Reporting from this month’s workshop where Type-C USB was put through its paces.

What to do with wireless IP is asked and answered by Navari Nandra, Synopsys. He explains what can be done and how it can contribute to the IoT.

The SoC market is consolidating fast, says Rupert Baines, UltraSoC, on an IP Exteme blog. This poses two challenges that he believes licensed IP can simplify.

A common proposition is to move from Intel to ARM, and Rich Nass, ARM presents a well-rounded blog on how to make the transition, with some input from WinSystems hardware and software experts.

Forget consumer, the future of the IoT growth is in enterprise, reports Brian Fuller, ARM, observing analyst IDC’s webinar on which parts of the IoT will be lucrative and why.

Recalling the talk by Xilinx Fellow, Dr. Steve Trimberger, Steve Leibson, explains the three ages of the FPGA, with a link to a video on the history of the technology.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

Blog Review – Monday, June 22 2015

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Yonsei Uni team up for 5G; Hold that thought; now catch it; ARM and UNICEF; Industry and Education breathe life into EDA; Connected driving clears the road ahead

Researchers at Yonsei University have demonstrated a real-time, full-duplex LTE radio system at IEEE Globecom in Austin, Texas, using a novel antenna approach and working with National Instruments SDR platforms and LabVIEW graphical programming environment, reports Steve Leibson, Xilinx.

“Hold that thought” takes a new turn, as an anonymous blogger at Atmel describes the MYLE TAP, a wearable ‘thought catcher’. The touch-activate and voice-powered device automatically converts thoughts into actions. An interesting prototype or a recipe for disaster if it falls into the wrong hands?

Charity doesn’t always begin at home, sometimes it’s a warehouse in Copenhagen, Denmark. Dominic Vergine, ARM, visited the UNICEF global procurement hub and considers what wearable technology can provide, building on the low-tech, wearable technology of the MUAC band to test for malnutrition.

Building on a presentation at DAC 2015, Richard Goering, Cadence, considers how to academia and industry can work together to revitalize EDA.

The road ahead is smooth for the connected car, reports John Day, Mentor Graphics, if you are driving a Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), anyway. He examines the connected car technology that can identify and share data on potholes, broken manholes and other hazards.

Sloth is a deadly sin, especially in IP software development, warns Tom De Schutter, Synopsys, as he examines how laze in automotive testing can be absolved with virtual prototypes as an alternative to hardware, making earlier, broader, more automated software testing available.

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor

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