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Cleaning Up the Verification Shop

It’s one thing if different tools from different divisions of the same company don’t talk seamlessly together. Generally considered poor form. While that used to be common, EDA folks have cleaned that up a lot over the years.

It’s generally better accepted when tools from one company don’t necessarily integrate well with tools from another company. If there are good strategic reasons, it will happen. If not, then, as a designer or EDA manager, you’re on your own for patching the tools together.

But what … Read More → "Cleaning Up the Verification Shop"

Ban Power Consumption

“How much power does it consume?”

This has been a key question ever since I started work as a product engineer many years ago. Heck, back then we even published power consumption numbers, although we used ICC as a proxy – we didn’t actually publish power, but you could easily do the multiplication with VCC to get it. (Yes, this was bipolar.)

These days, the concept is even more important, what with all the focus on battery-powered whats-itses. But in deconstructing a lot of what& … Read More → "Ban Power Consumption"

Wide-Ranging Approaches to Ranging

As I’ve mentioned before, there are constants at ISSCC (e.g., sessions on image processing and sensors) and then there are the circuits-of-the-month. Ranging seemed to be one of the latter, showing up in both image-processing and sensor sessions. So I thought I’d summarize some of the widely differing approaches to solving issues related to ranging for a variety of applications.

For those of you following along in the proceedings, these come from sessions 7 and 12.

Session 7.4 (Shizuoka University, Brookman Technology) offered a background-cancelling pixel that can determine the distance of an … Read More → "Wide-Ranging Approaches to Ranging"

IoT Update: I Give Up

Last year I proposed an overall architecture for the Internet of Things (IoT). The goal was to clarify the many different pieces required to make this work. And, in particular, to clarify which companies do which parts of the IoT.

There are so many companies that say the “enable the IoT.” But what does that mean? Last year, it could have meant many things, and so I tried to make some sense out of it. My intent was to come back and … Read More → "IoT Update: I Give Up"

Model-based Product Line Engineering

OK –not the most attention grabbing headline, but it is what Atego are calling the total revamp of their modelling tools. System modelling is one of those techniques which have been around for a long time, but outside a group of high-end companies, mainly in aerospace and automotive, has never really taken off. Atego’ is hoping to change this. Atego was formed by the merger of Artisan and Aonix, both system development tools suppliers. Since the merger the company has made a number of acquisitions of specialist tools. Today they are launching Vantage, which is not just … Read More → "Model-based Product Line Engineering"

Emulation: 3B Gates, 3 MHz

In the first major emulator news since Synopsys gobbled up EVE, Synopsys announced the next generation of the EVE platform, ZeBu 3. And, as with pretty much any emulator story, the top line has to do with capacity and performance: how much design can I cram in there and how fast will it go?

They claim industry-leading 3 MHz (with one example going as high as 3.5 MHz), as compared to what they say is a competition range more around 1-1.5 MHz (I’ll let the comps comment on whether or not that’s a representative number). As … Read More → "Emulation: 3B Gates, 3 MHz"

An ALS That Does RGB

My oh my, how the smartphone has colored our (or at least my) expectations. And color is the operative word here.

When you think, “ambient light sensor (ALS)” (yes, I know you think the parenthetical too), what do you think next? That sensor on the smartphone that can tell whether the ambient light is high or low so that it can adjust the display and keyboard backlights and such? Yeah… me too.

So then I see an announcement from Maxim about their new ALS. And it separates out colors. Now… color … Read More → "An ALS That Does RGB"

A New Coverage Concept

OneSpin announced a Quantify MDV product a few years back. With it, they defined a number of different coverage aspects – things that could be verified with their formal technology. Now they’ve reinforced that product with a new version. And that version contains yet another coverage concept.

The older coverage concepts focused on the design itself and the quality of stimulus used in verification. It would check for things like dead code and over-constraining, the former reflecting a possible code issue and the latter indicating that legitimate cases may not be covered by existing tests. … Read More → "A New Coverage Concept"

Clearer Phone Conversations

I recall the few times I was able, for some reason, to take advantage of noise-cancelling headphones on an airplane. Once on your ears, when you turned them on, you gradually heard the background hiss of the airplane disappear. It took a few seconds for this to happen.

My assumption was that this was a slow integration problem, and that only long-term constant sounds could be cancelled out; the circuitry simply wasn’t fast enough to eliminate short, sharp sounds. (Which is probably good, since you certainly wouldn’t want it to cancel out important … Read More → "Clearer Phone Conversations"

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