In It to Win It

Achronix Takes Speedster to Production Prime Time

by Amelia Dalton

The green flag dropped long ago. The pole-sitters have put the pedal to the metal on their high-octane beasts and vanished around the bend. Circling the course, the leaders of the pack fly ahead, their eyes fixed on the twists and turns of smaller and smaller geometries, without even a glance into the rearview. Don't look now! A dark horse is coming up quickly and quietly, stealthily stalking both leaders, attacking their most profitable lines. The programmable logic race has been ruled by a duopoly for years, but now an up-an-comer looks to change the race - once and for all. My guest this week is Robert Blake (CEO - Achronix) and Robert is here to discuss how Achronix is speeding ahead to full volume production, why (sometimes) it's best to buy and not invent new parts for their FPGA engine, and what it's like to be a pilot in the Bay Area.

 

Return of the Hobbyist

New Boards, Power Electronics, and Software Tinkerers

by Dick Selwood

Now bear in mind that I am a mature Englishman, so when I talk boards I am not looking at the sort of thing that you see on the US Pacific coast and that the Beach Boys sang about. (There, that rather demonstrated "maturity". For those of you wondering what I am on about, the Beach Boys were a Californian 1960s band who sang about surfing, cars and girls – very exotic in early 1960's, pre-swinging London.)

Instead we are looking at Raspberry Pi and its rivals, which have sparked off a whole new wave of tinkerers - a new type of tinkerer, who plays with hardware at a module level and with software. A distinctive feature of these board families is that they all have developed a strong, web-based community, where community members share projects, problems and successes.

 

Tools! Tools! Tools!

Debuggers and Boards and IDEs! Oh, My!

by Jim Turley

If this is February it must be Nürnberg. Or Barcelona. Either way, it’s the month when embedded developers head to Central Europe. (The ones with travel budgets, anyway.) And it’s the month when embedded vendors roll out their latest toys. It’s like attending Milan Fashion Week or the Paris Auto Show except… you know… less glamorous.

Two of my favorite announcements this week came from smallish companies, and both have been in the business for a while. And both have to do with tools. Software-development tools. The things that make the embedded world go ’round.

 

Xilinx Throws Down

Unveils New 16nm UltraScale+ Families

by Kevin Morris

When the #1 FPGA company makes what is arguably their biggest new-technology announcement in a decade, you’d expect there to be a lot of substance. With this week’s announcement of UltraScale+ Virtex, Kintex, and Zynq devices planned to roll out on TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process, the company did not disappoint. This is one of the broadest, most complex announcements we have ever heard from Xilinx. So, with that preface, let’s take a look at what those folks on the south side of San Jose have been up to lately.

In summary, Xilinx is announcing new Virtex, Kintex, and Zynq families of programmable devices with major improvements in capability over previous generations.

 

A Harvest of Heat

Getting Back a Bit of What We Waste

by Bryon Moyer

You’re wasting energy right now. You and many of the things all around you.

OK, perhaps it’s unfair to assign such specific agency – it’s not really your fault. Perhaps it’s better to say that energy is being wasted by some vague, abstract agent that shall remain nameless and blameless. Because it just happens.

Your mind may have immediately shifted to thoughts of energy harvesting, conjuring up visions of energy capture from all manner of inadvertent or residual motions: vibrations, steps, waves, wind. But our topic for today, unlike those approaches, involves no motion. Well, no overt motion, anyway. And it doesn’t involve the sun. (At least, not in a direct way.)

 

Soup to Nuts

Design Verification’s Party of the Year and Supply Chain Risks We Should Avoid

by Amelia Dalton

In this week’s Fish Fry, we’re serving up a virtual smorgasbord of EE goodness! First up, it’s a trip to the global supply chain salad bar with Lynn Torrel from Avnet. Lynn and I dig into the biggest trends driving the global supply chain, the challenges of multi-dimensional supply chain security, and which supply chain risks you should take head on. Our next guest is Yantin Trivedi who’s here to spill the beans on this year’s biggest design verification party - DVCon 2015. Finally, we round out our scrumptious EE feast with a look into how we can banish the ugly mixed-signal verification monster once and for all.

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