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Posts Tagged ‘Sonics’

Memory Subsystem Solutions Announced

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor

Integrating a Network on Chip (NoC) with a memory controller provides increased system throughput by decreasing the latency of data transfer to and from local storage.  Sonics, Inc. and Northwest Logic have announced their partnership to deliver high throughput memory subsystem solutions for complex System-On-Chip (SOC) designs.  The subsystem is focused on SOC Designs for Machine Learning, Computer Vision, UHD Video Processing, and Enterprise SSD Applications.   The companies’ partnership, which is being driven by a mutual customer SOC design win, integrates Sonics’ flagship interconnect fabric, SonicsGN NoC, and Sonics’ MemMax memory scheduler with Northwest Logic’s family of HBM2, DDRx, LPDDRx memory controllers.

“As DRAM data rates increase, the number of pipelined outstanding transactions required to achieve full throughput grows dramatically,” said Drew Wingard, CTO of Sonics. “This requires more intelligent transaction scheduling that considers both the bandwidth and latency requirements of pending requests and the page and bank states of DRAM. Without careful coordination between the NoC, memory scheduler, and memory controller, the subsystem will miss data transfer deadlines and suffer performance degradation at several points along the memory subsystem transaction path. Our partnership with Northwest Logic ensures that MemMax’s scheduling decisions produce a transaction stream enabling Northwest Logic’s controllers to efficiently map into memory commands that fully leverage the customer’s chosen DRAM technology.”

“Northwest Logic and Sonics share an uncompromising commitment to customer success,” said Brian Daellenbach, President of Northwest Logic. “We are seeing a significant uptick in demand for high throughput memory subsystems that address data-intensive applications and markets such as Machine Learning, Computer Vision, UHD Video Processing, and Enterprise SSD. Our memory controllers have a strong industry reputation for delivering high-performance, high quality, and ease-of-use. Our partnership with Sonics enables us to provide our mutual customers with a complete memory subsystem solution that also takes into account the need for high performance NoCs that support multi-channel memory subsystem architectures and integrate all of the cores in the system.”

The Sonics-Northwest Logic high throughput memory subsystem solutions where developed for a mutual customer and are now being integrated in designs by other customers as well.

Grant Pierce Named BoD Chair of the ESD Alliance

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor

The ESD Alliance (ESDA) has elected Grant Pierce (CEO of Sonics) as its Chairman of the Board a few weeks ago.  Grant is only the second Chair that is not a high level executive of one of the three big three EDA companies to hold the title, and the first since the organization, formerly EDAC renamed itself.  During the EDAC days it was customary for the CEOs of Cadence, Mentor and Synopsys to pass the title among themselves in an orderly manner.  The organization then reflected the mission of the EDA industry to support the development of hardware intensive silicon chips following Moore’s Law.

Things have changed since then, and the consortium responded by first appointing a new executive director, Bob Smith, then changing its name and its mission.  I talked with Grant to understand his view from the top.

Grant Pierce, Sonics CEO

Grant pointed out that: “We are trying to better reflect what has happened in the market place, both in terms of how our customers have developed further in the world of system on chip and what we have seen in the development of the EDA world where today the IP offerings in the market, both those from independent companies but also those from EDA companies are critical and integral to all the whole ecosystem for building today’s modern chips.”

Grant pointed out that ESDA has expanded its focus and has embraced not only hardware design and development but also software.  That does not mean, Grant pointed out, that the EDA companies are loosing importance but instead they are gaining a seat at the table with the software and the system design community in order to expand the scope of their businesses.

From my point of view, I interjected, I see the desired change implemented very slowly, still reacting to and not anticipating new demands.  So what do you think can happen in the next twelve months?

“From an ESDA point of view you are going to see us broadening the membership.” answered Grant.  ”We are looking to see how we can expand the focus of the organization through its working groups to zero-in on new topics that are broader than the ones that are currently there.  Like expanding beyond what is a common operating system to support for example.  I think you will see at a minimum two fronts, one opening on the software side while at the same time continuing work on the PPA (Power, Performance, Area) issues of chip design.  This involves a level of participation from parties that have not interacted this organization before.”

Grant believes that there should be more emphasis on the needs of small companies, those where innovation is taking place.  ESDA needs to seek the best opportunity to invigorate those companies.  “At the same time we must try to get system companies involved in an appropriate fashion, at least to the degree that they represent the software that is embedded in a system” concluded Grant.

We briefly speculated on what the RISC 5 movement might mean to ESDA.  Grant does not see much value for ESDA to focus on a specific instruction set, although he conceded that there might be value if RISC 5 joined ESDA.  I agree with the first part of his judgement, but I do not see any benefit to either party, or the industry for that matter, associated with RISC 5 joining ESDA.

From my point of view ESDA has a big hurdle to overcome.  For a few years, before Bob Smith was named executive director, EDAC was somewhat stagnant, and now it must catch up with market reality and fully address the complete system issue.  Not just hardware/software, but analog/digital, and the increased use of FPGA and MEMS.

For sure, representing an IP company gives Grant an opportunity to stress a different point of view within ESDA than the traditional EDA view.  The IP industry would not even exist without a system approach to design and it has changed the way architects think when first sketching a product on the back of an envelope.