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The World’s Smallest Printed Circuit Boards: interposers

The World’s Smallest Printed Circuit Boards: interposers
by Paul McLellan on 04-27-2011 at 1:38 pm

Have you ever had the experience where you look up some unusual word in the dictionary since you don’t remember seeing it before. And then, in the next few weeks you keep coming across it. Twice in the last week I have been in presentations about the economics of putting die onto silicon interposers and the possibility of a new… Read More


Semiconductor RTL Power Analysis: the sweet spot

Semiconductor RTL Power Analysis: the sweet spot
by Paul McLellan on 04-26-2011 at 4:20 pm

Power has become the strongest driver of semiconductor design today, more important than area, more important than timing. Whether the device is handheld, like a wireless phone, or tethered, like a router, complex power and energy requirements must be met. Shrinking geometries continue to impose new challenges as power management… Read More


How Avnera uses Hardware Configuration Management with Virtuoso IC Tools

How Avnera uses Hardware Configuration Management with Virtuoso IC Tools
by Daniel Payne on 04-21-2011 at 12:12 pm

Introduction
Here in the Silicon Forest (Oregon) we have a venture-backed, fabless analog semi company called Avnera that has designed over 10 Analog System on Chips (ASoC). Their chips are used in consumer products for both wireless audio and video applications.

James Rollins is the director of physical design at Avnera and … Read More


Transistor-Level Electrical Rule Checking

Transistor-Level Electrical Rule Checking
by Daniel Payne on 04-20-2011 at 11:19 am

Introduction
Circuit designers work at the transistor level and strive to get the ultimate in performance, layout density or low power by creating crafty circuit topologies in both schematics and layout. Along with this quest comes the daunting task of verifying that all of your rules and best practices about reliability have… Read More


Thanks for the memory

Thanks for the memory
by Paul McLellan on 04-20-2011 at 1:26 am

One of the most demanding areas of layout design has always been memories. Whereas digital design often uses somewhat simplified design rules, memories have to be designed pushing every rule to the limit. Obviously even a tiny improvement in the size of a bit cell multiplies up into significant area savings when there are billions… Read More


Intel Buys an ARMy. Maybe

Intel Buys an ARMy. Maybe
by Paul McLellan on 04-19-2011 at 5:18 pm

Is Intel in trouble? Since it is the #1 semiconductor company and, shipping 22nm in Q4 this year with 14nm in 2013, it is two process generations ahead of everyone else it is hard to see why it would be. Intel, of course, continues to dominate the market for chips for notebooks, desktops and servers. But therein lies the problem. Pads… Read More


Semiconductor Virtual Platform Models

Semiconductor Virtual Platform Models
by Paul McLellan on 04-19-2011 at 3:38 pm

Virtual platforms have been an area that has some powerful value propositions for both architectural analysis and for software development. But the fundamental weakness has been the modeling problem. People want fast and accurate models but this turns out to be a choice.

The first issue is that there is an unavoidable tradeoff… Read More


Semiconductor Industry Security Threat!

Semiconductor Industry Security Threat!
by Daniel Nenni on 04-17-2011 at 1:12 pm

The IBM X-ForceTrend and Risk Report reveals how 2010 was a pivotal year for internet security as networks faced increasingly sophisticated attacks from malicious sources around the world. The X-Force reportedly monitors 13 billion real-time security events every day (150,000 events per second) and has seen an increase in … Read More


2011: A Semiconductor Odyssey!

2011: A Semiconductor Odyssey!
by Daniel Nenni on 04-15-2011 at 10:08 pm

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey showed us a world where machine vision allowed a computer to watch and interact with its human colleagues. Yet after 40 years of incredible progress in semiconductor design, the technology to make computer-based image and video analysis a reality is still not practical.

While working with… Read More


Chip-Package-System (CPS) Co-design

Chip-Package-System (CPS) Co-design
by Paul McLellan on 04-14-2011 at 5:13 pm

I can still remember the time, back in the mid-1980s, when I was at VLSI and we first discovered that we were going to have to worry about package pin inductance. Up until then we had been able to get away with a very simplistic model of the world since the clock rates weren’t high enough to need to worry about the package and PCB as… Read More