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A New Standard for FPGA Peripherals

FPGA boards are quite possibly the most versatile and useful tools in our engineering hardware toolboxes. A competent hardware engineer can grab an FPGA board and pretty quickly solve a wide variety of problems and challenges. Need to accelerate an algorithm in hardware? Want to process data coming in from high-speed peripherals? Have some interconnect, buffering, sensor fusion, or other challenging interface problem? An FPGA board will probably get you to a working solution faster than just about anything.

But virtually nobody uses FPGA boards in isolation. Invariably, we need … Read More → "A New Standard for FPGA Peripherals"

SiFive Aims to Change the World

“Call me Ishmael.” – Herman Melville, “Moby Dick”

Call me a skeptic.

There are lots of microprocessor architectures in the world. Maybe too many. There are even plenty of free and open-source processor options. Processors are like opinions: everybody has one. So why is RISC-V any different? What makes anyone think that RISC-V will be The Next Big Thing?

I’m not sure. Maybe I just haven’t caught the fever. But I do know that a … Read More → "SiFive Aims to Change the World"

From Movies to Data Analysis

If you’ve been paying attention to the various papers at various advanced semiconductor process conferences, there’s a name you’re seeing more and more: Coventor. We’ve looked at them several times before, in the context of both their SEMulator 3D tool and their MEMS+ tool – the former for development of new semiconductor processes and the latter for designing MEMS devices.

Today we’re focusing on the SEMulator 3 … Read More → "From Movies to Data Analysis"

System Delta Sigma Delta

System Design is inherently a task of integration. The job of the system engineer is to gather and integrate a collection of components which, taken together, will solve some problem, while meeting a list of requirements such as form factor, performance, functionality, power consumption, reliability, and cost.

Almost all of the components we choose will be sourced from third parties. Seldom (if ever) these days is there a case of true vertical integration, where the electronic system supplier builds every part from scratch – like a fine dining chef laboring to create a meal from only locally-grown ingredients. “ … Read More → "System Delta Sigma Delta"

Get Happy with MTAPI!

“I believe robots should only have faces if they truly need them.” – Donald A. Norman, PhD.

 

Two heads are better than one. But too many cooks spoil the broth. Which aphorism applies to multicore programming?

We all know that multicore processors are here, but, like the impending robot apocalypse, we’re not sure what to do about it. It’s all very nice to ooh and ahhRead More → "Get Happy with MTAPI!"

EDA Tackles Functional Safety

For years, when we have thought “functional safety” or “safety-critical design,” we’ve pictured airplanes, spaceships, and weapons. All of these systems rely on tons of electronics, and they have to work properly or else bad things happen – either lots of time and money lost or lives lost.

And so, for years, the “mil/aero” world has been its own special thing. Some companies specialize in that business because margins can be good. Others stay away because design cycles are long and unpredictable, and there can be tons of paperwork – … Read More → "EDA Tackles Functional Safety"

Getting En-Meshed in Bluetooth

“You need to be careful with a Bluetooth headset, because some guys look crazy with them.” – Neil Strauss

If you shout “Bluetooth!” in a crowded theater, most people will think, “earpiece,” or “car phone,” or “Danish king with iffy dental work.” Or they’ll just think you’re a nerd. But few will think, “hmmm… mesh networking.”

That’s because “Bluetooth” and “mesh” didn’t fit together in the same sentence until a couple of weeks ago. But on July 13, the Bluetooth SIG announced its official … Read More → "Getting En-Meshed in Bluetooth"

The Day The Machines Took Over (The Wheel)

We’ve all been waiting for the day when the machines take over the world. In fact, if you read this publication, you’re almost certainly spending most of your working day (even the part suffering through meetings) enabling the machines to take over the world. After all, that’s the whole purpose of technology – to build machines that make our lives easier by automating tasks for humans. Of course, sometimes that means we end up handing over control of jobs that we enjoy, or that we perform to earn a living, or that have a potentially dramatic impact … Read More → "The Day The Machines Took Over (The Wheel)"

Portable Stimulus Intent

The first thing you should know about the new Portable Stimulus standard from Accellera is that, strictly speaking, it doesn’t provide for portable stimulus. Somehow, in the effort to solve a problem through portable stimulus, the solution morphed – but the name didn’t. That said, it does address the targeted problem, so perhaps this distinction merits no more than a shrug.

Let’s start with the problem: SoC verification. Over the long course of a project that turns ideas into working silicon, verification happens at multiple stages.

< … Read More → "Portable Stimulus Intent"

50 Years of French Research

Fifty years ago, the semiconductor industry barely existed. Jack Kilby had implemented the first integrated circuit only nine years earlier, and Intel’s two co-founders, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, were still working at Fairchild. Yet, in Grenoble, in the foothills of the French Alps, an organisation was founded to devote itself initially to semiconductor research and later to a wider range of related activities.

This wasn’t a green-field start-up. In fact, we have to go back a further 22 years to find its true roots. In 1945, as France was … Read More → "50 Years of French Research"

featured blogs
Aug 18, 2017
After leaving the title of yesterday's post in German, the obvious place to go for the next stop on the summer of computer museums is Germany. If you ask people which was the first digital computer, the answer tends to vary with the respondent's nationality. Do comp...
Aug 16, 2017
With our last web update, we brought you a major update to our on-site search capabilities, an update to how we serve static webfiles on the website, and a few new content pages for industry standard products. In July, we continued to make improvements to our recently rele...
Aug 09, 2017
Recall for a moment a scene—you’ve probably witnessed something like it at trade shows or on video dozens of times. A robot arm moves purposefully from its rest position. It swoops down on an object—a sphere, say—plucks it up, holds it aloft, replaces it, ...
Aug 03, 2017
Speedcore eFPGAs are embeddable IP that include look-up tables, memories, and DSP building blocks, allowing designers to add a programmable logic fabric to their SoC. The Speedcore IP can be configured to any size as dictated by the end application. The SoC supplier defines t...