Ethics and Horizontal Integration

Engineering in an Age of Denial

by Kevin Morris

“Obviously bad people could use this to…” The presenter paused, and didn’t finish his sentence. The audience was left to fill in the obvious gap, completing the phrase for themselves. The presenter wanted to cast light on the positive potential of the technology, while at least making a “full disclosure” nod to the possibility of misuse.

It’s a common theme these days, as technological progress steams full speed into an era with both amazing and terrifying potential. If you want to envision a Star-Trekkian utopia, there’s plenty of evidence to support you. If you prefer to forecast a late-coming “1984,” there’s lots of fodder for that as well. Anyone with a modicum of vision can see both the half-full and the half-empty potential of the vectors of modern progress.


The 21st Century Garage Startup

Adapteva’s Epiphany-V 1024-Core Processor Achieves a Milestone

by Jim Turley

“It’s taken me eight years to prove my thesis from 2008. I started this company with the goal of changing the way computers are built. It's been an exhausting journey, but we finally got it right!”

Those are the words of Andreas Olofsson, engineer, entrepreneur, microprocessor designer, visionary, and very persistent (and likeable) guy. After years of effort, he’s just taped-out his new microprocessor chip and now he’s in that pins-and-needles waiting period before the first silicon comes back. By March of next year, he’ll know if his creation actually works.


How Secure Are Fitness Devices?

Open Effect Breaks In to Study Privacy

by Bryon Moyer

Privacy is a gnarly problem. It’s a big concern for consumers – part of the reason why the consumer Internet of Things (CIoT) isn’t yet the big deal that proponents were hoping it would be by now. There are no purely technical solutions – or, perhaps better said, any technical efforts to boost privacy ultimately rely on people and the policies they create. Policies are great, but does reality match the policy?


A New Twist on an Old Process

Product Creation and Development with TwistThink

by Amelia Dalton

Our brains never seem to know when to stop. We dream of algorithmic optimization. We worry about board design while soaping up in the shower. Our family dinners are peppered with thoughts of thermal dissipation. Turning our daydreams and brainstorms into reality, however, is something else entirely. In this week's episode of Fish Fry, we investigate TwistThink's innovative approach to product design. TwistThink CEO Bob Niemiec joins us to discuss how we can convert our bright ideas into successful marketable products.


When MIPS Used to Mean Something

Imagination’s New I6500 CPU Goes Massively Parallel

by Jim Turley

“640KB ought to be enough for anybody.” – Bill Gates [disputed]

Back when the MIPS computer architecture was first created, MIPS meant one of three things. It was either “millions of instructions per second,” or, in the case of the CPU itself, “microprocessor without interlocked pipeline stages.” Cynical engineers also called it “meaningless indicator of performance for salesmen.”

These days, a processor that can process only a million instructions per second seems unutterably quaint, like a steam-powered sawmill. One MIPS is nothing. We want hundreds of MIPS – possibly thousands of MIPS (GOPS).


Achronix Goes Chipless

FPGA Cores for SoC Designers

by Kevin Morris

Since 2013, Achronix has been cruising along, quietly doing a decent business with their Speedster FPGA family. Their particular value proposition resonates well for certain networking and acceleration applications, and they’ve mined a good business by strategically poking at gaps in the Xilinx and Altera product offerings in certain markets. More recently, their Accelerator-6D PCIe board - bringing FPGA-based compute acceleration to existing server installations - has gotten good reviews.

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