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ARM Cortex-X1 Launches High-Performance Line

“And now for something completely different.” – John Cleese

In its latest bid for world domination, ARM has announced two new high-end Cortex processor designs. One is a nice, but unremarkable, tweak on the current Cortex-A77 core. The other is something different: an unabashed speed freak that drops any pretense of power efficiency in pursuit of performance. Say hello to the Cortex-A78 and Cortex-X1, respectively. 

ARM long ago developed a reputation for making power-efficient processors that struck a balance between performance output and … Read More → "ARM Cortex-X1 Launches High-Performance Line"

Renting vs. Buying Software

“An item on your Steam wishlist is on sale!”

They’re toying with my affections. Or affecting my toys. Either way. 

We don’t buy software anymore, we license it. The distinction may be abstruse legal hair-splitting to most people, but it has a real effect on what we can and can’t do with our own purchases. Take computer games, for example. 

Back in the day, you’d run to GameStop or CompUSA, buy a … Read More → "Renting vs. Buying Software"

Using MEMS to Thrash COVID-19

I don’t know about you, but I’m becoming a mite frustrated with the current state of affairs regarding COVID-19. My brother and I have just been obliged to cancel our mother’s 90th birthday celebrations, which were to be held in July 2020 in England (we’ve been planning and purchasing all sorts of things, like a party tent for my little bro’s back garden). I’m going to have to do something about the plane ticket I booked late last year to attend the festivities. Suffice it to say that, whilst understanding the … Read More → "Using MEMS to Thrash COVID-19"

The Interconnect Arms Race

“You can never be too rich or too thin.” – Wallis Simpson

In keeping with this week’s theme of glorified wires, I spoke with a man who designs them for a living. Naturally, he doesn’t see his job that way. To be honest, neither do I, now that we’ve talked about everything that goes into it. Even wires are becoming more interesting. 

The gentleman in question is Read More → "The Interconnect Arms Race"

Endpoint AI FPGA Acceleration for the Masses

Let’s face it. Just about anybody can throw a few billion transistors onto a custom 7nm chip, crank up the coulombs, apply data center cooling, put together an engineering team with a few hundred folks including world expert data scientists, digital architecture experts, software savants, and networking gurus, and come up with a pretty decent AI inference engine. There’s nothing to it, really. 

But there are a lot of applications that really do need AI inference at the edge – when there just isn’t time to ship the … Read More → "Endpoint AI FPGA Acceleration for the Masses"

Even the Batteries Get Smarter

“Marriage has no guarantees. If that’s what you’re looking for, go live with a car battery.” – Erma Bombeck

Back in my day, we connected power supplies to circuits using wires. But wires are so last century. Now we have intelligent, programmable, adaptable controllers that fit between the power source and the load. 

Case in point: Read More → "Even the Batteries Get Smarter"

Why, Hello FPGA and AI — How Nice to See You Together!

I love science and technology. I also love beer and bacon sandwiches, but that’s nothing to do with this column, so don’t try to distract me. Generally speaking, I like to think I have a ringside seat at the forefront of technology. Recently, however, I must admit to starting to fear I was no longer riding the crest of the technology wave with regard to things like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

In fact, I was preparing to start wearing my sad face when three things … Read More → "Why, Hello FPGA and AI — How Nice to See You Together!"

Taking the Pain Out of Field Upgrades

“Aging is mostly the failure to repair.” – Gregory Benford

Constant feature updates aren’t just a nuisance for consumers. They’re a pain for developers, too. Who wants to be stuck with the job of updating every device in the field? Nobody, that’s who. Let’s make the new guy do it. 

The programmers at Foundries.io have been there and done … Read More → "Taking the Pain Out of Field Upgrades"

Ultimate Guide to Switch Debounce (Part 9)

Yes! This is it! At long last we’ve reached the final part of this epic saga into all things related as to why switches bounce and how to mitigate against this phenomenon; that is, how to debounce the little rascals.

On the off-chance you’ve only just run across this modest magnum opus, we should perhaps commence by noting that in Part 1 we introduced the fundamental concepts … Read More → "Ultimate Guide to Switch Debounce (Part 9)"

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