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Archive for June, 2013

Addressing the Challenges with SoC Integration and Verification

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

As a society entrenched in connectivity, we put a great deal of pressure on our portable electronic devices to provide us with more and more computing power and capabilities.  Take this blog for example.  As I’m traveling, I’m actually writing this blog post on my smart phone. To write this effectively, I need to be able to easily flip back and forth between PowerPoint, Word, and the Internet while still answering emails and the occasional phone call.  The fact that my mobile device is able to handle all of these requests with no errors is astonishing given that just a few short years ago, this idea was just “pie in the sky”.  The computation complexities that make this possible are staggering.  But what is also staggering, is that even more complex designs are being created in ever shrinking time-to-market windows.  How do system and SOC companies remain competitive with these seemingly unrealistic expectations?

There are, of course, a myriad of answers to that question, but a critical facet is the use of third-party IP.  More and more companies must adopt third-party IP so that they can focus their design on their companies’ core competence.  Outsourcing other, proven, capabilities to IP providers saves a great deal of time, energy, and money.  However, the use of this third-party IP also introduces new challenges for interface specification, integration, and verification of SoCs on a large scale.  These challenges, if not addressed properly, can eliminate any of the productivity gains thought to be realized with the use of third-party IP.

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TSMC Ecosystem Moving Online

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

There has been a great proliferation in the quantity and quality of online resources for IC designers over the past two decades.  This expanding set of options benefits both the designers and ecosystem partners such as foundries, tool vendors and IP suppliers.

For intellectual property (IP), multiple established sites deliver IP cataloging, news, planning and aggregation, and consulting.  These useful services come from established providers like ChipEstimate, Design & Reuse, and Silicon-IP.  Providing fast access to detailed information on thousands of IP alternatives helps build the market for IP innovators while providing designers with myriad technology solutions.

Web-based EDA solutions are also becoming more mainstream.  Many are ideally suited to the advantages that only online resources can deliver.  Examples include Cadence’s hosted design solution, Mentor’s thermal analysis, Synopsys’ logic verification and Nimbic’s electromagnetic analysis.  With seemingly unlimited compute power residing “in the cloud,” designers can have on-demand access to these types of scalable tools, eliminating constraints on their productivity.

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