Voice is a hot topic these days. It represents the layering of a lot of technologies, from identifying and separating sounds to identifying individual voices to identifying specific words. And, while voice recognition is a broad topic, specific applications are effectively being layered above it for so-called “smart speakers” – the Alexas and Dots of the world. And right away, I’m going to warn you that we’re likely to get confused since speakers (human) are talking to speakers (“smart”). Hang on tight. … Read More → "Developing for Smart Speakers"
“Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.” – Nelson Mandela
Sometimes you just have to call in the lawyers.
The law is rarely intuitive, and technology-related regulations are even more inscrutable. Oh, sure, we all think we know right from wrong. Family conversations and Facebook faceoffs are filled with people who just know that this company is corrupt, or … Read More → "Help! My Product Is Suing Me!"
It’s time to come clean. Let’s face it, digital design dudes and dudettes, we’ve been phoning it in.
It’s true. Those of us doing digital design have spent the last several decades designing one thing: the computer. Sure, we can do 4-bit, 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, 64-bit, big-endian, little endian, RISC, CISC, memory-managed, pipelined, single- or multi-core… The variations and subtleties go on and on. But, at the end of the day, one truth emerges: we long ago passed responsibility for the creation … Read More → "Digital Design Reinvented"
Does it ever feel to you like, no matter how many new tools features appear, it’s never quite enough? In some cases, you solve one problem – but it doesn’t stay solved. Complexity, scaling, performance and power requirements – they may all catch up to the solution, necessitating further tool refinement. In other cases, new problems arise that were never dealt with before.
We’ve got some examples of each, distilled from a conversation with Real Intent at DAC. Let’s start with problems that have already been solved. … Read More → "Clocks, Xs, and Resets"
Why do we keep changing things and, at the same time, making them more complicated?
We should be making things simpler.
Firstly, I need to provide some context. My PC died. There was an intermittent hardware fault that started some time ago and it finally killed the entire system. I had back-ups and even had access to a hard disk reader. Unfortunately, for about a week, I had no machine on which to load the back up.
“I’m not deaf. I’m just ignoring you.” – Heideroosjes
Pardon me while I set down my caviar.
Contrary to popular belief, being a technology journalist isn’t all champagne, private jets, and hot and cold running interns. It’s a messy job. But somebody has to do it.
It’s a combination of digging out information that doesn’t want to be found, combined with fending off propaganda that desperately wants to be published. One day, it’s the needle in the haystack. The next, it’s a … Read More → "The Information Food Chain"
As much as the EDA industry would like us to believe otherwise, it’s almost impossible to find an engineering team who is satisfied with their design tools. More often than not, when chatting with designers about their tools, we get sentiments ranging from “survivable” to “horrible.” The “survivable” end of the spectrum usually amounts to something on the order of, “We managed to get the job done in spite of numerous issues we ran into with tools along the way.” “Horrible” usually leans more toward, “I lost my job because bad design tools caused my … Read More → "Why Are Design Tools So Bad?"
Not long ago, we published a piece describing Cadence’s new Tensilica Vision C5 processor. We used the opportunity to give a brief primer on convolutional neural nets (CNNs) and their role in vision processing. In fact, if you want a quick CNN refresher, I’d encourage you to go back to that.
In ironic timing (at the risk of reviving the argument over what “ironic” really means), right when … Read More → "Further CNN IP Integration"
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"
“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"