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Sensors at Semicon West

On the heels of the series of sensor articles we did, I found some new sensor attention at Semicon West. While the focus of the session was MEMS in general, a couple of the presentations elaborated more on the kinds of sensors and applications they enable.

First was Jo de Boeck of imec. His focus was on detecting volatile compounds in the air or in someone’s breath – what they call … Read More → "Sensors at Semicon West"

Open-Source DPI

Deep packet inspection (DPI) is all about understanding what’s in network traffic – minimally, to be aware of it (an intrusion detection system, or IDS), but, more commonly these days, to do something about it (an intrusion prevention system, or IPS).

Part 1 of our DPI coverage was motivated by a DPI bake-off run by Netronome. The benchmark used was the Snort algorithm. Snort is a free, open-source program for implementing IDS or IPS, and it has been widely used. It consists of … Read More → "Open-Source DPI"

The Fruits of Acquisition

When companies acquire other companies, part of the buzz consists of speculation about what will happen. Did the acquiring company simply remove a competitor from the market? Will business continue as usual? Will the technology be repurposed?

Last year, Synopsys went on a buying spree, and a couple days ago they announced the results of the combined inputs of Virtio, VAST, and CoWare, not to mention their own efforts on top of that, in their new Virtualizer product.

This tool is intended both for creating virtual prototypes and then using them in a verification flow, … Read More → "The Fruits of Acquisition"

Photonics at Leti

CEA-Leti, a French research consortium, reviewed their technology projects during Semicon West last week. I got a chance to speak with Leti’s Hughes Metras afterwards to talk a bit about their photonics work.

They see light as being a useful data conduit when information at the rate of around 10 Mbps needs to be carried over 1 km. Using that product – 10 Gbps-m – as a threshold, it means that for small distances on the order of 1 mm, you need to be transferring data at the rate of about 10 Tbps. We’re certainly not there yet & … Read More → "Photonics at Leti"

Multicore and Concurrency

In this week’s multicore automation article, we talked about multicore and we talked about concurrency. It’s easy to conflate these two concepts, so an important distinction should be drawn. The terminology isn’t particularly precise here, but the notions are.

“Multicore” typically refers to a computing platform. The number associated with it is the number of cores available for running a program. This number is completely independent of the program being run (although for embedded systems, it may have been … Read More → "Multicore and Concurrency"

HLS from Scratch

On the heels of the announcement of an entirely new analog design tool suite comes something else surprising. And I can’t quite figure it out.

I received an “announcement” of a new HLS (i.e., nominally, a C-to-VHDL) tool called HercuLeS. Except that the announcement didn’t read like a commercial launch: it read more like a note to friends and colleagues. It was written by Nikolaos Kavvadian, who describes himself in his email signature as “Lecturer, Research scientist, Hardware developer, Ph. … Read More → "HLS from Scratch"

Keep it in Software

In the domain of deciding which embedded functionality should go in hardware and which in software, some architects have a philosophy of keeping as much in software as possible. That’s because software is inherently much more flexible than hardware. Even if you’re using an FPGA, there’s always the, “what if it doesn’t route?” fear. With software, as long as it fits in the allocated code store, you can do anything you want.

This is, of course, part of the motivation of software-define radio (SDR). Years ago, I … Read More → "Keep it in Software"

Thinking a Bit Too Local

A few weeks ago we looked at a local “boutique” Bay Area manufacturing operation that was struggling to stay local and “sustainable.” Inherent in the effort is the assumption that local is better, resulting in a smaller human footprint (carbon or otherwise).

But is that always the case?

This week a European group issued a press release on work they’ve done to assemble an embedded systems tool flow. Called the INTERESTED project (I won’t … Read More → "Thinking a Bit Too Local"

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