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Ask for Whom the Bell Tolls

I was at DATE 2006, a tradeshow in Germany. My cell phone started buzzing with calls, voicemails and e-mail. People were stopping me on the show floor – pulling me aside, whispering rapidfire questions – always small variations on a theme. “Did you hear that LSI Logic is killing RapidChip? Do you think that structured ASIC is dead? Are other structured ASIC vendors pulling out as well? Will FPGAs wipe out the structured and platform ASIC space entirely? What’s Altera doing? What about ChipX? Isn’t AMI doing structured as well? Has eASIC been acquired yet? What have … Read More → "Ask for Whom the Bell Tolls"

Biting Bugs Back

In 1949, there was only one processor, and it was in a computer laboratory. Today, processors are ubiquitous; they are found in cars, phones, planes, satellites, routers, phone-switches, toys, cameras, refrigerators, and almost everything else. Inside those processors is an exploding quantity of software that is breaking the existing debugging methodologies. Late last year, Toyota recalled its Prius hybrid cars due to a software bug. Satellites are lost due to software bugs. Even heart pacemakers cause problems and fail due to software bugs. In 2002, the US National Institute of Science and Technology estimated that software quality problems were costing the … Read More → "Biting Bugs Back"

What Do You Tell Them?

I rolled into my own defeat with the resignation of a mortally wounded rabbit. “Gate arrays,” I replied, already knowing the next step of the dance. Then I made a futile attempt to divert him. “They’re chips used to…”

“Oh yes, that’s right, Gatorade.” he interrupted, determined to repeat the entire game despite my desire to resign. “I used to give that to my marching band members so they wouldn’t get dehydrated on hot days. Don’t remember it coming in chip … Read More → "What Do You Tell Them?"

Field Programmable Gate Arrays for Flexible and Fast Data Processing


Use of a generic FPGA board together with a powerful programming environment is investigated. It is demonstrated that high-performance real-time analysis is achieved at a reasonable cost. The system is simple to integrate with off-the-shelf acquisition systems such as LabVIEW. A flexible wavelet algorithm is programmed and is found to be considerably faster than the processor of the host computer. The flexibility of the processing unit makes it a promising tool for applications where ordinary desktop computers do not provide enough processing power.

Research-oriented experimental equipment must often offer high-performance … Read More → "Field Programmable Gate Arrays for Flexible and Fast Data Processing"

What Do You Tell Them?

My twenty-three-year-old eyes couldn’t muster the maturity to disguise my frustration. He sensed their weakness. It was what he was watching for. Even as I struggled in vain to regain my composure, he moved in for the kill. “What did you say again that your company does?” My father posed the question, fully aware of the answer, waiting with the patience of the hunter who has already cornered his prey for my inevitable self-destruction.

I rolled into my own defeat with the resignation of a mortally wounded rabbit. “Gate arrays,” I … Read More → "What Do You Tell Them?"

Image Processing Applications On New Generation FPGAs

The new generation of FPGAs with DSP resource and embedded processors are attracting the interest of the image processing market. With enhanced capabilities most of the DSP processing work can be off loaded from the software program stack to embedded processors and DSP resources on the FPGA to improve performance and reduce the cost of the whole system.

The traditional way of implementing algorithms in software limits the performance because the data is processed serially. Frequency of operation can be increased up to a certain extent to increase the performance or the required data rate … Read More → "Image Processing Applications On New Generation FPGAs"

Fusion Adds ARM

It slices, it dices, and it has flash-memory. It gets your whites whiter, removes those collar rings, and flaunts flexible FPGA fabric. It has more flavor, is less filling, and boasts programmable analog to boot. It softens your hands while you do the dishes and offers a wide selection of pre-configured IP. Now how much would you pay? Well don’t answer that because now, Actel’s already incredible versatile Fusion programmable system chips also pack an available ARM7 processor.

Actel’s claims about Fusion sound like something from one of those impossibly overblown … Read More → "Fusion Adds ARM"

WEPOS Gets to the Point

In the old days, you could use just about any embedded operating system for your point-of-service (POS) installation. If you could load your application onto something akin to a cash-register and provide any level of functionality better than the old mechanical beasts, you could make a good market for your embedded system during the register replacement revolution.

As with the horses, however, the POS OS race is now the purview of specialists.

Microsoft is uniquely positioned to play the specialist role in this market. You see, point of service applications invariably have to talk fluently … Read More → "WEPOS Gets to the Point"

Think You Know Where Structured ASICs Belong?

Over the past couple of years, the notion of Structured ASIC and Platform ASIC architectures, let’s refer to both as Structured ASICs, have received a lot of attention from the chip industry. Structured ASIC proponents tout the concept as a way of getting near-ASIC performance and unit pricing without the high NREs and long and complex design cycles of ASICs. On the other side, skeptics dismiss Structured ASICs as a ploy to save what they consider to be a dying ASIC design industry. In reality, the benefits of Structured ASICs lies somewhere between these two viewpoints – exactly … Read More → "Think You Know Where Structured ASICs Belong?"

featured blogs
Oct 19, 2018
Oct 19, 2018
Any engineer who has designed an IC-based solution likely used some sort of HW development tool. Semiconductor manufacturers have a long history of providing engineers with the HW tools needed to test their silicon. Evaluation platforms, like the Xilinx® Zynq UltraScale+ ...
Oct 16, 2018
  IC Insights has just published the September Update to The 2018 McClean Report, and one figure (reproduced below) puts yet another nail into the coffin for poor old Moore'€™s Law. Now please take care. There'€™s a vertical line between the 200mm wafers on the left ...
Oct 12, 2018
At the end of the day, your products are only as good as their in-the-field performance. It doesn'€™t matter how well they performed in a controlled environment....