Bringing Light to Dark Silicon

Gray Silicon and FPGAs

by Kevin Morris

For the past few years, we’ve all been hearing the discussions about “Dark Silicon.” Besides being a really cool and ominous-sounding label, dark silicon is an issue that threatens to end multicore scaling on ICs. The reasoning goes like this: “Dennard Scaling” has ended. Dennard Scaling is the concept that power density remains constant as transistors shrink, which gives “Koomey’s Law” its teeth. Koomey’s Law says that performance-per-watt in computation has been improving by approximately a factor of two every 1.57 years.

At the most recent process nodes, the amount of leakage current has caused Dennard Scaling to break down, and power density has been increasing rapidly. Increasing power density on top of Moore’s Law means that even though we can put more transistors on a chip, we can’t let them operate all at the same time without thermal runaway. We have to leave some of them dark at all times - hence, “dark silicon.”

 

Decoupling Formal Technology from Formal Technology

OneSpin Lets Others Build the Apps

by Bryon Moyer

Formal verification technology appears in the ascendant at the moment. It’s been around forever, it seems, but it’s now finding its way into more flows than ever.

And that’s because users don’t have to deal with formal technology. The problem with formal is that it’s hard. And, historically, an investment in formal was best matched by an investment in a PhD or two to help out. Or perhaps by hiring some specialist consultants to help out. The way we’ve started to shake off some of those shackles is through apps. The companies making formal technology realized that they had to target specific problems and then bury the formal bits below a user interface and flow that were more natural to the problem being solved.

 

Sensing a New Generation

How Wearables Will Revolutionize Prenatal Medicine

by Amelia Dalton

In this week’s Fish Fry we explore a whole new world of wearable technologies with Julian Penders from Bloom Technologies. Julian (co-author of “Wearable Technologies for Healthier Pregnancies”) and I talk about how wearable technologies can help monitor lifestyle behaviors. We’ll be looking at the future of wearable technologies targeted for pregnancy, and discussing how these technologies pose additional challenges. Also this week, I check out Cadence’s new Innovus tool suite and reveal how it could make routing your million gate IC design just a little bit easier.

 

Apple Hints at CPU and OS Independence

New Bitcode Format Could Be the First Step Toward CPU-Neutral Platforms

by Jim Turley

ARM, x86, or Apple? That question may make a lot more sense in a few months.

In amongst all the many things that Apple rolled out at its latest Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco was an almost-offhand mention of something called Bitcode. The company didn’t provide a lot of detail and, in fact, seemed to curtail some of its planned discussions just days before the event, but, from outward appearances, Bitcode lays the groundwork for a future filled with CPU-neutral Apple devices.

In other words, Apple may be getting ready to swap out ARM for x86, or vice versa.

 

Selling Your Brain

Patent Law is a Slippery Slope for Engineers

by Kevin Morris

Patent Law was created to protect and encourage inventors. The original intent is noble: when you invent something, the patent system is designed to give you a period of exclusivity where you can profit from your work and creativity without fear of someone copying your idea without compensating you.

However, the patent system didn’t contemplate the reality of today’s professional engineering environment, where the majority of engineers are employed in a work-for-hire situation by large corporations, and where those engineers frequently move from one large corporation to another. In that situation, our patent system breaks down badly.

 

IoT Security

Hints of Solutions to Come

by Bryon Moyer

Security is the last unsolved problem of the Internet of Things (IoT). Really; all we have to do is make a security and it will all be good.

Poke around in IoT-Land a bunch, and you could come to that conclusion. Over the last year, I was excited to see the appearance of various whitepapers and presentations on IoT security, hoping to learn what solutions would get us over the security hump. But most just reiterated the fact that security was important and missing and someone should do something about it.

While security isn’t the only barrier to an IoT deployment explosion, it has been holding some folks back. Others have proceeded with less than ideal security since they wanted to do something without waiting for an engraved invitation to a secure IoT.

« Previous123456...329Next »

Login Required

In order to view this resource, you must log in to our site. Please sign in now.

If you don't already have an acount with us, registering is free and quick. Register now.

Sign In    Register