I was born in 1957, the same year that the Soviets launched the first satellite into Earth orbit, officially starting the Space Race between two global super powers. Today there are many countries engaged in space research and I just read about how engineers at IEAv (Institute for Advanced Studies) in Brazil did their IC design optimization… Read More
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Analog IP is more difficult to design and optimize for a given process node compared to digital IP, so any automation for analog designers is always welcome. The engineers at SMIC in China have customers that design analog IP and often they need to know how to optimize it for a specific process, so I watched a presentation by Josh Yang,… Read More
Designing Analog IP is often referred to as a “black art”, something that only highly experienced craftsmen can produce using transistor-level techniques that aren’t shared outside of their closely held group of trusted co-workers. I’d like to suggest that Analog IP can be designed and optimized … Read More
My first job out of college was transistor-level circuit design of DRAMs at Intel, so I’ve continued to be fascinated with both the craft and science of designing, optimizing, verifying and debugging custom ICs. Last October I traveled to Munich, Germany to attend a two day user group meeting for engineers using tools from… Read More
Reusing design IP is crucial for competitiveness. The need for reuse occurs with new designs on the same process node as the original design, new designs at the same node but using a different PDK or foundry, or designs on a different process node – usually smaller. However, achieving effective IP reuse has always been a challenge.… Read More
My IC design career started out with DRAM at Intel, and included SRAM embedded in GPUs, so I recall some common questions that face memory IP designers even today, like:
- Does reading a bit flip the stored data?
- Can I write both 0 and 1 into every cell?
- Will read access times be met?
- While lowering the supply voltage does the cell data retain?
There are three critical goals that designers of custom digital designs and memories look to achieve with high sigma verification:
(1) obtaining accurate results,
(2) achieving results with good run-time (efficiency), and
(3) gaining proper insight into how their circuit is behaving along with an understanding of failure … Read More
We have been hearing about low power for a long time. Fortunately, low power chip operation has come about through a large number of innovations. Key among these is clock gating, frequency and voltage scaling, managing leakage with lower threshold voltage, HKMG, and many other techniques. But we are entering the age of ultra low… Read More
Right now I’m typing on my MacBook Pro computer connected to the Internet through WiFi, thanks to the electronics in both my laptop and WiFi router. I kind of take WiFi for granted because it is so ubiquitous throughout my daily life, yet there are IC designers at companies like Lantiq Semiconductorthat have to design and optimize… Read More
There’s much talk in EDA about High Level Synthesis (HLS), Transaction Level Modeling (TLM) and the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM), however there’s a lower-level of abstraction, the transistor-level, where high-speed digital cell libraries are created, analog circuits are crafted, and AMS designers… Read More