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Certification Claims

There are handbags at dawn in the safety-critical RTOS market. Last week QNX put out a press release with the title, “QNX Announces Availability of First RTOS to Achieve Both Safety and Security Certification.” Today, Green Hills Software hit out with a letter to all the press. Green Hills has never been a company to mince its words, and in this letter it continues that approach, declaring that “This statement is false.” It goes on to say that “While practically any vendor could be accused, at one time or another, of making embellished, distorted, … Read More → "Certification Claims"

A Mysterious New Roll-On Material… or Two 2

Back when we looked at organic semiconductors, CMOS was a hard thing to do because the standard organic materials were generally p-type. Meaning that organic circuits would consume more power.

A couple of news items have come out recently describing a mysterious material developed by Polyera. The first release was from Norwegian company Thinfilms; they had worked with PARC on developing organic CMOS technology and ultimately announced printed addressable memories that incorporated the Polyera material. “Printable” in this case refers to a so-called “gravure& … Read More → "A Mysterious New Roll-On Material… or Two 2"

Shock Value

The area of sensors is tightly intertwined with that of energy harvesting, since many sensors are in far-flung installations that are hard to power.

Early this year we looked at a self-sufficient energy harvester that fed itself on vibrations; it was able to generate up to 35.8 µW of power given vibrations of 1 G. Recently, imec announced at IEDM average generation of 42 µW, with a record of 489 µW under optimal conditions.

The installation? This is specifically for tires, using … Read More → "Shock Value"

IP in the Cloud

EDA has yet another cloud computing participant, but this is of a different flavor from what we’ve seen before. While most efforts to date have been to make tools available in the cloud, IPextreme has opened an IP portal called Xena. The idea is to create an IP store so that customers can browse IP and purchase from Xena merchants. Use of the site is free to those customers; it’s the IP vendors that pay for the subscription.

Security … Read More → "IP in the Cloud"

Validating Serial Protocols

When I was approached to talk about a new product from Arasan, I ran afoul of my favorite source of confusion from the Bureau of Arbitrary Definitions: I thought it was a verification story, when in fact it’s a validation story.

In case you think those two sound like pretty much the same thing, I always like to reinforce the confusion by defining verification as the act of proving that your design is a valid implementation of the design spec, while validation is the act of verifyingRead More → "Validating Serial Protocols"

To be, or not to be – an FPGA?

A few years ago, we shined light on the fact that FPGAs were stealthily appearing in places where they were not announced.  Namely, both Altera and Lattice semiconductor sell devices that are ostensibly CPLDs, but whose inner workings are most certainly FPGA.  It turns out that the latest process geometries are more friendly to the FPGA architecture than to the classic CPLD architecture, and for people accustomed to using CPLDs, there is really no reason they need to know that an FPGA is hiding under the cap.  

More recently, Xilinx introduced their Zynq family … Read More → "To be, or not to be – an FPGA?"

A Company Reunion?

Back in 1982, I joined a smallish company that had gotten their start in memories, but had subsequently been the first company to build a strong commercial business in programmable logic. The company was Monolithic Memories, or MMI. Yes, others like Signetics had been to market with PLAs before, but the difference was the combination of the simpler, faster, cheaper PAL architecture along with – critically – PALASM, the first PLD design software that could take Boolean descriptions and figure out which fuses to blow. And yes, we’re talking bipolar technology, TiW fuses. The two guys credited with … Read More → "A Company Reunion?"

Closing the Thermal Loop

It’s impossible to design an SoC today without good simulation models. Emphasis on “good.” We’ve always simulated, but, back when mask sets cost less than the GDP of a small country, the actual silicon was the true test of whether the design worked.

Of course, using real silicon to iterate the design was never the goal, but the only way to get good models is to test them against actual silicon – it’s that closed loop that gives you confidence in the model. But that means running a lot … Read More → "Closing the Thermal Loop"

Intelligent Devices Lack Social Graces

My bathroom scales clearly knew it was my birthday – the display that shows my age and other stats when I step on had advanced by one.  Other than that, it had no comment other than to inform me that my body fat percentage had risen by 0.1% since yesterday.  Thanks scales, that’s what I was hoping to hear.

Siri was next.  I had high hopes for her, as I felt we’d developed something of a connection over the past month or so.  She keeps my calendar, sets up meetings, and even jokes … Read More → "Intelligent Devices Lack Social Graces"

Protecode Takes on Security

Protecode issued a new release of their tools the other day, and in this release they appear to have stepped beyond a strict focus on licensing: now they’re looking at security issues as well.

There are other companies with thorough analysis programs that focus on security and safety, so I wondered whether Protecode was either trying to duplicate those tools and methods or perhaps was partnering with one of them.

Turns out it’s neither of those two choices. … Read More → "Protecode Takes on Security"

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