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Nikon vs. ASML

Another day, another patent lawsuit. It’s just one of the many tools in the Silicon Valley (and any other global Silicon Situ) toolbox. So an announcement by Nikon that it is suing ASML and Zeiss shouldn’t raise too many eyebrows, right?

Well, yeah, except that, in this case, Nikon might as well be saying that they have a patent on sand. And… as with all things legal, I should probably clarify my meaning there. I’m not saying that … Read More → "Nikon vs. ASML"

Whose Product Is It, Anyway?

“Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth.” – Khalil Gibran

What follows is wholly uninformed speculation. I hereby declare that I am not competent to render legal judgments. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Do not place any weight behind this argument. Now, having said all that…

Two high-tech companies are currently suing each other. No news there. Don’t worry about which two companies we’re talking about. That’s not important right now. Besides, Read More → "Whose Product Is It, Anyway?"

Boards to Systems

There’s no question that the IC side of the EDA world gets most of the attention. After all, quad-patterning, EUV-having, boundary-pushing, 5-nm lithography issues are certainly bright shiny objects to grab the attention of tech-nerds. But the vast majority of us are doing more pedestrian stuff – designing board-based systems for a wide variety of applications across a huge number of end markets. What about our tools? Not glamorous enough for ya?

There is, of course, a thriving-but-steady industry-within-an-industry producing tools specifically for designing board-based systems. The biggest suppliers of these tools are … Read More → "Boards to Systems"

Self-Driving Cars: Unofficial Views

Most of what we see about the upcoming self-driving car phenomenon comes from the industry. Press releases and contributed articles may disagree on timing and exact phase-in mechanisms, but they’re pretty unanimous in one respect: “This is happening.”

There are certain segments, of course, for whom self-driving cars will be money in the bank. Anyone who has to pay pesky humans out of their revenue stream can eliminate this cost and simply keep all the money. (Or improve the economics… more on that in a sec…) Hence truck-driving and Lyft-driving are viewed as careers that will … Read More → "Self-Driving Cars: Unofficial Views"

Cars, Connection and Silicon

How do you sum up embedded world, this year spread over three days, with nearly 40,000 people and over 1,000 exhibitors, all around a theme of Securely Connecting the Embedded World?  Well you can’t – not sensibly. Instead I am going to look at a thread that recurred in the dozens of conversations that I had in those three days and that is currently a hot topic. Obviously, the IoT was also a regular occurrence, with many of the new product announcements specifically targeting it. But the topic that kept recurring was cars: not just fully autonomous cars, but also those … Read More → "Cars, Connection and Silicon"

Magnitudes of Mystery

Over the past five-plus decades, Moore’s Law has taken us on a remarkable rocket ride of complexity. With the number of transistors on a chip approximately doubling every two years – and we’re up to 26 of those “doublings” now – we’ve seen an increase on the order of 67 million times the number of transistors on a chip, giving us processors with over seven billion transistors, FPGAs with over thirty billion transistors, and memory devices with over a hundred billion transistors, as of 2016. It’s an absolutely remarkable explosion in complexity. But, during those same fifty years, … Read More → "Magnitudes of Mystery"

Cracking a WALNUT

It’s almost obvious that this would be a problem. Well… part of it is obvious; part not so much.

What do accelerometers do? They measure acceleration – including periodic acceleration, more commonly known as vibration. Any vibration within the designed frequency range is subject to detection.

And what is the most prevalent kind of vibration? Sound. And what’s one really popular way to enjoy sound? Music. Music is sound is vibration. Which can be measured by an accelerometer. (By that measure, you can think of a microphone as a specialized accelerometer…).

So … Read More → "Cracking a WALNUT"

Two Cores When One Won’t Do

Do you trust your processor?

Yeah, you’re right; that’s not a fair question. If the question is reworded as, “Will your processor always give the correct result?” then the obvious comeback is, “Correct according to what?” If there’s a bug in the software, then the processor will give the correct – but not the desired – result.

So let’s assume good software. Now will the processor always give the correct – and desired – response?

Well, what if there’s a bug in the hardware? Of course, many of you reading this may … Read More → "Two Cores When One Won’t Do"

What’s the Bandwidth of a FedEx Truck?

“The more storage you have, the more stuff you accumulate.” — Alexis Stewart

Something seems very wrong about this whole idea.

There I was, minding my own business, reading about new web services, and it was all about data containers, docking, network interfaces, transport, routing, and other sorts of esoteric new technologies. And then it mentioned that the “data container” was 45 feet long and weighed 68,000 pounds, and the “routing” meant Google Maps.

Wait, what?

A quick review of the Read More → "What’s the Bandwidth of a FedEx Truck?"

featured blogs
May 22, 2017
As part of the RISC-V workshop, Dave Patterson gave a talk on computer architecture. He recently retired from UC Berkeley, and in another sense it was a career retrospective. He did let drop that he is working with Google so his retirement doesn’t seem to involve the tra...
May 19, 2017
Chris Shelly, Samtec’s RF/SI Modeling Engineer, walks us through another 12G SDI product demonstration from NAB 2017. This demonstration showcases the Samtec BNC Edge Mount connector used in the Fidus® Gearbox+™ and the Phabrix® QX UHDTV 12G SDI generator/ana...