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MIPS Spins Its Wheels

Porsche is a driver’s car – a performance car… but it’s got no cup holders.” – Jason McCoy

You want the 140-character version? MIPS has a new processor with parity.

You want the longer, more detailed version? Uh… MIPS has a new processor with parity… and some ECC. And some additional technical documentation to help with safety certification. But the CPU itself? Pretty much the same one as before.

That’s not to belittle the new I6500-F. I’m sure it was a lot of work, and it’s nice … Read More → "MIPS Spins Its Wheels"

EDA’s Second Chance

They say you don’t often get second chances. Certainly, there are few examples in the technology world where an entire industry blows a big market opportunity, backs away, and then gets another crack at it later. But, that could possibly happen with EDA and FPGAs. We might be on the verge of a time when the EDA industry could patch the big hole in their collective system design dike and take full control of the electronic design process once again.

About two decades ago, the EDA industry became keenly interested in the emergence of FPGA technology. … Read More → "EDA’s Second Chance"

Neural-Net In a Block

Cadence recently announced neural-network processor IP. It would be pretty simple to jump into the architecture and start from there, but there’s this thing that I don’t think is just me that perhaps we should deal with first.

I see neural networks tossed about all over the place. In none of those places is there ever a description of what neural networks are – in their various embodiments. So either it’s experts talking to experts, or everyone is … Read More → "Neural-Net In a Block"

Achronix Leaps Forward

With the announcement that the company became profitable in Q1 2017, that year-to-year growth will exceed 700%, and that 2017 revenues will pass the $100 million mark, Achronix has successfully made the challenging transition from speculative FPGA startup to viable, self-sustaining company. This alone is a remarkable achievement, in the wake of numerous well-managed enterprises that tried and failed to reach that same elusive milestone. The road to “profitable FPGA company” is littered with the smoldering remains of decades worth of dead startups.

And, it’s not like Achronix just started out with the perfect plan, or even the building of … Read More → "Achronix Leaps Forward"

The Steady March of Progress

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

To no one’s great surprise, ARM has released a new set of microprocessor cores.

You could almost set your watch by ARM’s upgrade announcements, so regular and predictable have they become. What’s this – about the umpty-fifth new processor to come out of the British-based, Japanese-owned company in about the last ten years? Do these guys ever take a day off?

ARM has more flavors of CPU than Read More → "The Steady March of Progress"

Battery Roundup

Batteries have historically been perceived as something of a staid technology – at least in a lot of minds. I remember back when we were diving into 3-V standards at JEDEC many years ago, and we invited battery folks to help advise us. I came away with the distinct sense that battery chemistry was pretty much what it was and would always be. Yeah, I saw you stifling that yawn…

Well, no more. Batteries are what will save the world! Either by powering electric-powered vehicles over distances that now require petrol or by storing and releasing renewable energy, … Read More → "Battery Roundup"

Digital Innovation in Health Care

It is sobering to be in a presentation discussing a range of problems and to suddenly to realise that one of the problems that the presenter is talking about is you. This happened to me in May, when I was attending the Digital Innovation Forum organised by the ARTEMIS Industry Association – a grouping of around 180 European organisations (universities, research organisations and companies) active in what the organisation calls Embedded Intelligence Research & Innovation. You can read more about ARTEMIS-IA and the complex relationships of European Union funding for research and innovation Read More → "Digital Innovation in Health Care"

Intel Pulls the Plug on Itanium

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain

Friends, engineers, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come not to bury Itanium, but to praise it.

In case you missed the news – and it was easy to miss – Intel quietly pulled the sheet over the still-warm corpse of Itanium, the company’s fabulously expensive yet spectacularly unpopular microprocessor family. In its place, Intel will encourage everyone to keep buying regular ol’ x86 chips.

The notice crept in quietly on little cat’ … Read More → "Intel Pulls the Plug on Itanium"

Flex Logix Fires Second Salvo

For decades now, FPGA companies have struggled to overcome their de-facto positioning as “ASIC alternatives.” Of course, FPGAs are great for prototyping your design, or for getting something into production much earlier than we could with a custom chip design. But, eventually, for designs that go into volume production, there comes a time when it’s worth designing an ASIC or ASSP to do the same thing, yielding better performance, lower power consumption, smaller area, and lower unit cost. This is bad for FPGA companies because just when a design win should turn into … Read More → "Flex Logix Fires Second Salvo"

Machine Learning Hits EDA

OK, you’ve just been assigned a new project. There’s a cell that’s in need of Monte Carlo variation analysis. You’re looking for 6σ accuracy – 1 failure in a billion. So you run the numbers, and you find that you’re going to need 5 billion separate simulations. Yes, that’s with a “B.” No, retreating to a less aggressive node won’t help; this number is independent of the number of varying parameters. Straight statistics. Yeah, this project is going to take… years.

So, of course, that’s not going to happen. What are your options … Read More → "Machine Learning Hits EDA"

featured blogs
Jun 19, 2017
Samtec’s FFSD, FFMD Series are micro-pitch, high reliability, high cycle IDC cable assemblies. TIGER EYE™ CONTACT The connector systems incorporate the Tiger Eye™ contact. Tiger Eye is a rugged contact for micro pitch interconnects; it is ideal for high reliabi...