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Veridae Proliferates

Last fall we took a look at Veridae’s Clarus debug tool. At the time, it was positioned to handle SoCs and FPGAs, including multi-FPGA prototype boards.

So when they announced their Corus product at ESC, intended to cover FPGAs, I was confused. To be clear, I’m often confused, and I figured it was just me. But in talking more with Veridae, I found this to be one time when my brain wasn’t taking unpaid time off.

Having spent a lot of … Read More → "Veridae Proliferates"

Greater Certitude

About two years ago, we looked at a new product from SpringSoft, Certitude, inherited through the acquisition of Certess. SpringSoft has just announced some improvements to the product.

As a quick reminder, Certitude performs what SpringSoft calls “functional qualification.” That fundamentally means that it looks for untestable pieces of your design by inserting bugs and seeing if the bugs can be detected.

Most of the improvements have to do with improving the specificity and relevance of what the analysis returns. First, they’ … Read More → "Greater Certitude"

Microsoft plus Skype?

Microsoft just took Skype off eBay’s hands for the Buy It Now price of $8.5 billion. Yikes.

That’s a lot of money for a company that provides a free service. After all, the whole point of Skype is to use your computer to bypass the long-distance phone system. It’s like flipping a finger to The Man: I can use my $50/month Internet service to bypass the $3/minute phone system. Take that, AT&T! (Never mind that AT&T is providing many Skype users’ Internet service, too.)

Actually, Skype does make money. … Read More → "Microsoft plus Skype?"

Software Validation News

LDRA and PRQA both had news at ESC last week. As a reminder, LDRA focuses on the traceability and certification of software, especially software targeted for safety-critical and secure applications. PRQA, on the other hand, prides itself in its deep, detailed code analysis, looking for potential bugs or other problems.

LDRA announced the ability to provide traceability from requirements all the way to object code. It’s that last mile to object code that’s new. The idea is to be able to document that all of the executable code can be traced to a … Read More → "Software Validation News"

What Goes Around

Sitting through iSQED presentations on single-event-upset-tolerant circuits, I couldn’t help but notice the recurrent C2MOS moniker being tossed about. It was unclear to me whether it was stimulating some old, moldy memory or if that was just my imagination.

Some subsequent poking around to learn more proved harder than I expected. The term is tossed out here and there, but it was actually really difficult to confirm what it stands for: Clocked CMOS.

And then I saw … Read More → "What Goes Around"

Shine a Light

Light is full of energy; it’s just that we can’t do much with that energy directly. Whether we’re trying to use the energy to power our world or simply to detect the light itself, we have to extract it. This typically means converting the light to some other more useful form of energy.

There are two fundamental kinds of light conversion: ones that turn light into other light and ones that turn light into electric current … Read More → "Shine a Light"

Xilinx’s Crossover

Xilinx announced their new Zynq family a while back, and now they’re working the positioning to further clarify why it’s different from past processor+FPGA combo chips. At Mentor’s U2U, Xilinx CTO Ivo Bolsens described Zynq as a “crossover” chip, sharing the characteristics of an FPGA, ASSP, and ASIC.

And here’s what he said makes the critical difference: coherency. An FPGA typically resides outside the processor’s known realm, and is responsible for managing its … Read More → "Xilinx’s Crossover"

An Engineer’s Engineer

On the lighter side of things, ESC opened yesterday with a “fireside chat” with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, introduced as an engineer’s engineer (and if you don’t know who he is, “you’ve got issues.”)

What got spontaneous applause from the audience were simple populist pronouncements on:

  • Education. He’s clearly not a fan of our factory classrooms where “different” thinkers are herded back onto the duly designated path of “right” thinking.
  • Patent trolls. He specifically took a … Read More → "An Engineer’s Engineer"

Monopoly as the Efficient Model

Mentor CEO Wally Rhines gave a keynote presentation at the recent U2U event and, once you connected all the dots in the presentation, he seemed to make a startling suggestion: that industries with monopolies are more efficient than those with many competitors.

Of course, that’s not exactly how he said it. Rather than talking in terms of monopoly versus competition, he worded it as specialization versus generalization, and the point is that specialization is more efficient.

He used Alcoa as an example. At one time, there was no one but Alcoa for … Read More → "Monopoly as the Efficient Model"

Get Wreal

When analog design discussions turn to simulation, especially when they involve Cadence, one inevitably comes up against the unfortunately-named concept of the “wreal” type. I say “unfortunately” because, pronounced with standard English rules, it’s pronounced “real,” providing no audible distinction from the “real” type. So it’s typically pronounced “double-you-real.” (Or occasionally you’ll hear “wuh-real.& … Read More → "Get Wreal"

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