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Calypto Refreshes HLS

iStock_000002098045_Medium.pngHigh-level synthesis (HLS) recently got a round of improvement. Calypto’s Catapult 8 represents yet another fundamental renewal of an EDA tool for improving ease of use and quality of results.

Let’s review some basics. HLS generally refers to the use of C or C++ for specifying untimed design behavior. That’s actually caused some confusion, since SystemC is based on C++. So, loosely speaking, folks may … Read More → "Calypto Refreshes HLS"

Calxeda Isn’t Dead Yet

Remember Calxeda? The chipmaker that was going to do super power-efficient server chips based on ARM? Well, that company went under a year ago, but their technology, and some of their personnel, have resurfaced under a new name: Silver Lining Systems.

The new company’s website is barely more than a placeholder, but it does credit Calxeda with developing its technology. It also mentions Foxconn prominently, the Chinese contract manufacturer. The Foxconn afiliation suggests that either it or Silver Lining will be making full server systems, not just … Read More → "Calxeda Isn’t Dead Yet"

Audio-Grade Bits!

If you store your music digitally — and don’t we all? — you want audio grade bits.

Apparently bits aren’t just bits. An audiophile site in the UK just published an article claiming “significant” and “quite marked” difference in sound quality between MP3 files stored on a Hitachi hard disk, a Seagate hard disk, and a flash SSD. The lengthy article goes on to note such perceived differences as “rhythmic drive,” “image soundstaging,” “edgy grain,” “musical intent,” and other … Read More → "Audio-Grade Bits!"

Porous Silicon and Triboelectricity

Last December’s IEDM conference included energy harvesting as a topic; a couple of papers caught my attention. You could almost think of one of them as bridging batteries and capacitors; the other leverages an everyday household phenomenon in a new way.

The first paper, from a collaboration between Intel, Florida Int’l Univ., and Univ. of Turku, demonstrated a way to create porous silicon to increase surface area in a capacitor. They do this with an etch that, in principle, is capable of a 1000:1 aspect ratio, although other limitations limited the etch depth, as … Read More → "Porous Silicon and Triboelectricity"

Semiconductor CapEx to grow 5.6% in 2015

Semiconductor, meet cycle. It’s another up/down go-around for semiconductor capital spending, according to the latest Gartner report that predicts that 2015 will be nearly flat compared to 2014. Non-memory (i.e., logic) chipmakers will spend a total of just 0.8% more this year than last, with 5.6% growth in capital equipment. That works out to $65.7 billion overall, with $41.1 billion in shiny new equipment.

As before, the independant foundries will be spending more than the standalone chip makers (IDMs), and memory will be more active than logic. Gartner further … Read More → "Semiconductor CapEx to grow 5.6% in 2015"

Job Openings at AMD

Looking for new career opportunities in management? You might try AMD. The big chipmaker just whacked three of its top executives: the General Manager of Computing & Graphics, John Byrne; Chief Marketing Officer, Colette LaForce; and Chief Strategy Officer, Raj Naik. That’s three immediate vacancies in Mahogany Row.

The company isn’t entirely decimated. The heads of HR, Legal, and Operations are still there. And the CTO (Mark Papermaster) and CFO (Devinder Kumar) just got retention bonuses, in the form of new incentive stock options that vest in a couple of years. Issuing them bonuses while … Read More → "Job Openings at AMD"

BSIMProPlus Gets a Makeover

Seems like there are two kinds of EDA tool announcements. Most of them introduce new capabilities – support for a new process node or a new lithography technique or new precision. But occasionally you get what I’ll call the “re-writes.” This is where folks at the EDA company look ahead and realize that their underlying infrastructure and engines, while once quite capable, are starting to buckle under the weight of the ever-increasing load.

So, even though you mostly want to support new stuff, occasionally you’ve got to refurbish the infrastructure. That … Read More → "BSIMProPlus Gets a Makeover"

All the News on IMUs

Inertial measurement units (IMUs), once cool and shiny in their new MEMS editions, are now familiar old friends. We’ve become accustomed to motion sensors in our phones, so this particular integration of linear and rotational acceleration feels rather established in comparison with some of the new sensors being considered for consumer use.

But there’s still stuff going on in the motion world, and a few of the recent announcements seemed worthy of note. Oddly enough, they all came out within a week of each other; we’ll simply take them in chronological order.

< … Read More → "All the News on IMUs"

Shootout at the FinFET Corral

It’s high noon at IEDM. Both Intel and IBM have “late-breaking news” with their 14-nm FinFET numbers. The giant room is filled to bursting capacity. I’m lucky enough to have some space along the side wall, far from the screen. So far, in fact, that much of what’s on the screen is completely illegible.

Oh, and did I mention photography is not allowed? So… you can’t see the information, you can’t record it even if you saw it… you could busily write what … Read More → "Shootout at the FinFET Corral"

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