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Posts Tagged ‘NVIDIA’

Predictions 2012 – Double Patterning in Litho

Monday, January 30th, 2012

The main technical breakthroughs we can expect this year will probably revolve around double patterning in lithography as EDA companies try to optimize the technique for density and performance. And it will probably have knock-on effects way up in the design flow, forcing designers to adopt much more regular designs. But, unless EUV sees a major breakthrough, double and further levels of multiple patterning is something people will need to get used to.

Regularity is likely to become a feature of low-power design as well. Although it hurts effective density, the drive to cut power consumption will see much more use made of on-chip redundancy – we’ve already seen some of that in the nVidia Tegra 3 and the ARM Big.Little initiative. We could see those techniques begin to extend into ultralow power circuits using near or subthreshold devices as engineers discover how to model circuits effectively and recover lost performance at very low voltages.  Some of these techniques will also help reinvigorate older processes – using better EDA to trim power consumption instead of relying primarily on process changes to deliver better energy efficiency.

Chris Edwards
Technology writer: Engineering & TechnologyNew ElectronicsLow-Power Design BlogTech Design Forums

 

Chip Killers: keeping design managers awake

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Am I gonna make tapeout in time?Liz and I attended a panel at DesignCon that asked the question: what are you doing about the chip killers that delay your tapeout? That’s an intriguing, possibly unanswerable thought, since we’ve asked that question virtually since EDA’s inception. Ed Sperling of Systems-Level Design moderated the panel which had on it: Sunil Malkani of Broadcom, Ravi Damaraju of Juniper, Ramon Macias of NetLogic, John Busco of NVIDIA and Bernard Murphy of Atrenta.

Sperling moderated a lively discussion; questions that he or the panelists or audience posed highlighted the ongoing nature, or unanswerability of the topic. Some were:

• As designers and design managers, what keeps you up at night?

• If your design has to finish in half the time that your previous project took, do you start with a [design methodology and flow] clean slate?

• How do you get hardware and software engineers to work together?

• What’s good enough to get the design out the door?

• How do you define failure?

• What’s the price of failure?

• Who owns quality?

• What do you do when your next project is 4X the size of your last design? Throw people at it? Make the tools do more? Run faster? How?

• How do I turn around a design in a month and get all of these [now-required] apps on it?

• Why does place & route have to be flat?

• When will P&R, timing analysis have to break down the design hierarchically?

• How can verification be improved so that its pessimistic estimates won’t require designers to over-design?

The panelists all bemoaned the dueling standards that plague EDA, attributing them to companies wanting to gain marketing advantage, to the detriment of EDA users.

Sperling will publish a transcript of this panel in a future issue of System-Level Design. Nic Mokhoff published a summary of the panel the next day.

Finally, I have a question: why does DesignCon schedule a management-level panel on a day when the exhibit floor isn’t open? Doesn’t help DesignCon panels’ attendance, which has been paltry for years, seems to me.

– end –

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