The Productivity Gap

Lynx Design System Bridges the Breach Between Chip Capacity and Engineering Ability

by Amelia Dalton

He’s been up all night. The row of green and white soda cans marks the passage of time in a steady line across his desk. Everyone else has gone home for the day, but he’s still here, clicking "send to voicemail" on his Mom's call. Nothing, including days without sleep, is going to distract him from his looming deadline. We’ve all been there at least once or twice in our career - burning the engineering candle at both ends, struggling to do more with less. In this week’s Fish Fry, we take a closer look at the “Productivity Gap” that plagues all of us at one time or another. Andy Potemski (Synopsys) and I discuss the void between the enormous capacity of today's chips and our ability to get the design job done. We discuss how the Lynx Design System can make our system design lives a whole lot easier and why the "Productivity Gap" is more prevalent now than ever before.


The Human Factor

IoT Takes People Out of the Loop

by Kevin Morris

The imminent IoT is the final phase of a computing revolution that began decades ago.

First, it was all about processor speed. From our puny 8-bit 1MHz microprocessors to today’s 64-bit multi-core multi-gigahertz behemoths, the pursuit of MIPS and FLOPS led us from machines that could barely run the most rudimentary programs to multiprocessing beasts that can crunch data at unimaginable speeds. Over time, however, processor performance gradually faded from the spotlight. Now, the incremental capability we gain with a doubling of processor speed is comparatively insignificant, and the focus in processor design has switched from raw performance to power efficiency.


Promises in the Dark

ASML Ties Up Vital E-Beam Technology with Hermes Acquisition

by Jim Turley

“Knowledge Is Good.” – Emil Faber, founder of Faber College

Data is good. So more data is better. Better enough to spend $3 billion, if you’re running ASML.

Advanced Semiconductor Materials Lithography (ASML) is the huge Dutch-based corporation that makes many of the shiny clean-room machines that produce your chips. You could say the company is big in small. But bigger can always get better, right?


Is Asymmetric Cryptography Necessary?

Rubicon Labs Promotes Symmetric-Only for the IoT

by Bryon Moyer

So… what if you woke up one day and found that some basic tenets of IoT security that you thought to be true might not, in fact, be true?

We did a huge tour through security a while back, including a look at artifacts like keys and certificates, authentication, and encryption. And the focus was on the ever-popular public-key infrastructure (PKI) setup, featuring asymmetric (public/private) key pairs.


Are We There Yet?

The Road to 7nm is Paved with Predictive Modeling

by Amelia Dalton

Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason. (Jerry Seinfeld)

We know what roads will lead us to the 7nm semiconductor node and frankly, they’re not all that scenic. In this week’s Fry Fry, we tackle the trials and tribulations of this tiny titan with David Freid from Coventor. David and I discuss the biggest challenges we will face at this smallest of the small process geometry, how virtual fabrication and predictive modeling can help solve some of our problems, and why the most important question surrounding this new node isn’t being asked: "Should we even go to 7nm?" In this week’s Kickstarter Corner, we check out the coolest new Star Wars campaign to hit the kickstartin’ airwaves: Kyberlight Sabers - The strongest, brightest, and best combat-ready sabers in the galaxy!


Achronix Accelerates Today’s Data Center

PCIe Board Brings Power-Efficient Networking Performance

by Kevin Morris

We’ve talked a lot in these pages about the battle for the future of the data center. FPGAs, we say, represent the path to enlightenment, the power panacea, the key to breaking the energy-hungry tyranny of the von Neumann architecture. Apparently, we are not alone in this line of thinking. Intel, for example, plunked down about sixteen billion votes in favor of an FPGA-based future by acquiring Altera. Xilinx joined a cadre of companies looking to crack Intel’s longstanding dominance of the data center by devising standards to facilitate open-architecture attacks on Intel’s proprietary fortress. Someday, the thinking goes, FPGAs will pave the path to Moore-esque improvement in the energy efficiency of computing, despite the demise of Moore’s Law itself.

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