Integrity Simplified

Mentor Upgrades HyperLynx

by Kevin Morris

These days, the metal on your PCB has to do a lot more than just connect a few dots. With the pervasiveness of high-speed serial interfaces and other signals that put a premium on signal integrity (SI), most board designs can’t get away with simple-minded placement and routing anymore. And, with the compression and perforation of power planes, we can’t take power integrity (PI) for granted either.

The situation is only getting worse. New protocols and standards for high-speed interfaces like DDR4, multi-gigabit Ethernet, and PCI Express put even more strain on the design, and continually increasing operating speeds combined with decreased voltages up the ante yet again. It is becoming rare for a design team to be successful with a leading-edge PCB without state-of-the art SI and PI simulation and analysis.


Yet Another Wireless Protocol

Synapse Takes 802.15.4 in a Different Direction

by Bryon Moyer

The wild and wooly world of wireless is still bubbling with new things. We've become accustomed to three contenders for short- to medium-range wireless: WiFi, BlueTooth, and ZigBee. And we saw before that there is a profusion of longer-range, lower-power protocols vying for primacy.

Well, today the plan was to look at a couple of new protocols (or, at least, new to us) that are based on shorter-range familiar technology. One, from Synapse Wireless, shares the bottom of its stack with ZigBee; the other, a new WiFi variant newly branded as HaLow, shares the top of its stack with conventional WiFi. But I still have questions outstanding to the WiFi folks, so we'll have to push that off to some other time. So today we look at SNAP.


Boxes to Boards and Back Again

Technology Transitions, VPX, and the Challenges of SoCs in Embedded Design

by Amelia Dalton

Consolidation and innovation in embedded design is the name of the game for this week's Fish Fry. We chat with Ken Grob (Elma Electronics) about VPX, getting your box design onto a board, and the many advantages of implementing a system on chip or system on module in your next embedded design. In a special “This isn’t an April Fools' joke” edition of News You May Have Missed, we investigate how the foam created by a tiny frog from Trinidad may revolutionize antibiotic delivery. Also this week, we check out the many challenges and alternatives for thermal management.


We are Teaching the Wrong Lessons

Giving a Computer to All 11-12 Year Olds is Not the Answer

by Dick Selwood

I had planned to write about new advanced technologies (quantum computing and the like) and to report on SEMI's Industry Strategy Symposium Europe, but instead, I have been distracted by the announcement that all British children in school year 7 – that covers children between 11 and 12 years old - are being given a computer. The aim is to re-enforce the government diktat that "all children should learn to code". All the talking heads that are being rolled out to support this initiative state, as an unchallenged fact, that coding is as important as English for someone in the early 21st century. The justification is that coding is the way to gain understanding of the digital worlds, including, inevitably, the Internet of Things.


Math Works Harder

MATLAB Upgrades Boost Design Creation

by Kevin Morris

“Verilog and VHDL are the most natural and efficient ways for me to express my design intent.”
— No one. Ever.

Whether we’re doing FPGA or ASIC design, or programming the latest DSP, most of us don’t start out our project with regular hardware description languages. In fact, if we’re developing or tuning an algorithm, or if we’re somehow applying math to our problem, a great many of us do the early work in MATLAB. It makes sense. For translating mathematical ideas into specific algorithms, and verifying the performance of those algorithms on early data sets, MATLAB is worlds more productive than jumping straight into the design of hardware, or even into C/C++ coding.


Why We Work: a Documentary

Fiduciary Responsibility Extends in All Directions

by Jim Turley

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker

Why do you go to work? Is it because you’ve found your life’s calling and can’t imagine doing anything else? Or is it because you just need a steady paycheck, and you don’t care who provides it? Do you consider your current position as merely a convenient source for on-the-job training before you bust out and go it alone? Did you inherit father’s company? Or is it because you’re flirting with the receptionist?

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