Interop Gets Complicated

Just When You Thought You Understood – and Needed – It

by Bryon Moyer

I was wrong.

There: I said it. I can sleep unburdened tonight.

And what earth-threatening mistake had I made? I mistook syntax for semantics. But I get ahead of myself. Let’s dig in to see, first, why anyone would even care about this.

It has to do with – surprise! – the Internet of Things (IoT). Of course. And it has to do with the desire of some to leave behind, or avoid altogether, walled-garden models of interconnected devices that lock users into a particular vendor or technology or… something, in favor of interoperability.

 

Virtual Platforms and You

Embedded Software Development with Virtual Platforms

by Amelia Dalton

Rome was certainly not built in a day and neither was your next embedded software project. In this week’s Fish Fry, we take a closer look at virtual platform-based methodology for embedded software development with Simon Davidmann (CEO - Imperas). Simon and I discuss the advantages of the Open Virtual Platform Consortium. and how virtual platforms can speed up your design process. Also this week, we check out a new dual mode Bluetooth 4.0 module from Microchip Technology that will help you get your next IoT connected faster than ever before.

 

PUF, the Magic’s Draggin’

Startup Aims to Make Electronics More Trustworthy

by Jim Turley

“All science is either physics or stamp collecting.” – Ernest Rutherford

If you think about it, “random” is really just a euphemism for any pattern that we don’t understand. Rolling the dice at a casino table produces a random result, but only because we don’t think about it very hard. We understand the physics of momentum; we know the coefficient of friction of the felt on the table; we can calculate the inertial vectors of the throw. Given enough time, we could accurately predict the outcome of any dice roll. It’s even possible to make a robot arm that throws snake eyes all day long. But absent that real-time information, we treat the outcome as random. Otherwise, there’d be no games of chance.

 

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 Julien Penders from Bloom Technologies. Julien (co-author of “Wearable Technologies for Healthier Pregnancies”, which was published in a special issue of the Proceedings of the IEEE ) 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.


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