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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

The Power of Yelp: Designing Chips versus Bathrooms

 
March 9th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Not for the first time
, it’s become obvious that designing a bathroom is very similar to designing a chip. The effort requires a confident sense of the end-product you’re trying to accomplish – and then a great deal of necessary tedium.

Because these days, bathrooms and chips incorporate a huge number of IP blocks and the process of tracking down the final candidates, reworking the design over and over to see how each candidate fits in, then making the final selection, confirming with each IP vendor that the price and availability of their particular block meets your design budget and schedule, then nailing down the finished design, actually ordering and paying for the IP that will go into the design, and crossing your fingers that nothing untowards has happened between the moment you made your final part/IP selection and the moment the vendor’s supposed to pony up the goods.

The process of creating a bathroom or chip design that includes a great deal of IP is really complex. It requires a lot of shopping, validating, purchasing, receiving and integrating IP into the design.

Read the rest of The Power of Yelp: Designing Chips versus Bathrooms

Oski Technology: new VIP supports Formal Sign-off

 
February 23rd, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Oski Technology has added a new page to its playbook.
Now it’s not just a services company, it’s an IP company as well. This week, the company announced it’s Formal Verification IP Library targeted at those companies using ARM’s AMBA interface protocols.

When we spoke on the phone about the announcement, I asked Oski VP of Applications Engineering Roger Sabbagh why now for this product release. He said: “I personally have been working in Formal since the year 2000, back when I joined 0-In, and over the years I’ve learned that formal adoption grows slowly.

“Yet although there has never been a knee in the curve, we have seen some important developments in the industry. Synopsys developed PC Formal and Cadence bought Jasper, both indicating that Formal is catching on slowly but surely.”

Read the rest of Oski Technology: new VIP supports Formal Sign-off

Roadmap @ ISSCC: When will we Stop Driving our Cars

 
February 16th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Millions of people are talking about when we will stop driving our cars
, many thousands are working on it, and six among those thousands made an appearance Tuesday evening, February 7th, on a panel at IEEE’s International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco.

Over the course of the hour, the six speakers outlined their different visions of the technical roadmap that must be pursued to achieve fully autonomous cars. Of the six speakers, however, only three actually attempted to answer the panel prompt and their answers were wildly disparate.

So when will we stop driving our cars? 1) It’s impossible to know. 2) Not until 2030. 3) We already are beginning to stop driving our cars.

The panel was moderated by a senior Intel engineer, heavily involved in the company’s newly organized business unit specifically focused on autonomous driving systems.

Read the rest of Roadmap @ ISSCC: When will we Stop Driving our Cars

ESD Alliance: Sonics’ Grant Pierce elected Board Chair

 
February 9th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


This week, the ESD Alliance
announced that Sonics CEO Grant Pierce has been elected chair of the organization’s Board of Directors. His election is unique in several ways: Pierce is the first CEO of an IP company to lead the Alliance; he replaces two co-chairs, Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tan and PDF Solutions, John Kibarian; and he is only the second CEO of a non-publicly traded company to serve as Board Chair, the other being Jasper CEO Kathryn Kranen who took the reins in 2012.

When Pierce and I spoke by phone on Tuesday about his election, he noted the unique circumstances of his new leadership role: “When I joined the board several years ago, it was with the intention to add a new point of view to what was then the EDA Consortium, to help the organization reflect the emerging reality of what was happening in the marketplace with respect to IP companies.

“In some ways, the IP companies consider themselves to be a necessary evil. Every chip developed today involves some sort of third-party IP, so having a place on the Board of the ESD Alliance is essential.”

Read the rest of ESD Alliance: Sonics’ Grant Pierce elected Board Chair

Apocalypse soon: RISC-V channels mammals after the Asteroid

 
January 19th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


At the ESD Alliance panel on the Cadence campus Wednesday night
, it was Vista Ventures’ Jim Hogan who suggested the little open-source processor architecture called RISC-V will prove itself to be a plucky survivor when looming market realities hit 800-pound proprietary vendors like ARM and Intel. Hogan suggested RISC-V is positioned to survive that pending apocalypse just like “the mammals after the asteroid.”

Pretty dramatic stuff.

Hence it should not have been surprising, at the end of the 75-minute discussion on stage between Jim Hogan and Microsemi’s Ted Speers and SiFive’s Yunsup Lee, that I raised my hand and asked why Simon Segars was not in the room. After all, Simon Segars is both CEO of ARM and a key member of the Board of the Alliance that organized the Hogan-Speers-Lee program – a program where the emerging RISC-V movement was described as poised to upend the primacy of ARM etc.

Hogan responded to my question without answering: “Look, ARM is challenging by serving the low-cost processor market. License fees, royalty fees – that is what ARM wants for their low-power edge-based device. I think it was Simon, for example, who started talking to The Street about his economic strategy. It’s not really about what the best technology is, but about the economics. This is what gets the traction, and ARM will respond in an economic way.”

“Yes,” Ted Speers added, “and Intel and Imagination will also respond.”

Read the rest of Apocalypse soon: RISC-V channels mammals after the Asteroid

RISC-V: ESD Alliance to showcase Situational Irony on Jan 18th

 
January 5th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


One of your New Year’s Resolutions
should be to further understand the philosophy, technology, and implications of the RISC-V movement. And there will be no better way to follow through on that resolution than to attend the upcoming ESD Alliance discussion on the topic.

In a nod to the best in situational irony, the Alliance is hosting an evening event in Silicon Valley on January 18th specifically to discuss this open source processor architecture, which per some has the potential to turn ARM’s market dominance on its ear.

Read the rest of RISC-V: ESD Alliance to showcase Situational Irony on Jan 18th

Flex Logic & TSMC: embedded FPGA cores on 16nm FinFETs

 
December 14th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


Flex Logic announced some astonishing news this week
– the completed design of a “high-performance IP core for TSMC 16FF+ and 16FFC, with performance for wide, single-stage logic around ~1GHz at worst case PVT conditions.”

In a phone call to discuss the announcement, Flex Logic CEO and Co-founder Geoff Tate was clearly ebullient: “Last August we were talking about TSMC’s 40-nanometer ULP, ultra low power, and now this week we’re talking about the first 16-nanometer finFET plus.

“This one, our EFLX 100, is like the one we announced at 40 nanometers – but at 16 nanometers it will run much faster!

“We’ve done extensive measurements [to confirm] for many applications that these cores will run at 1GHz or faster, even in worst-case temperature conditions.”

Read the rest of Flex Logic & TSMC: embedded FPGA cores on 16nm FinFETs

IP Design Challenge: efabless & X-FAB promote Ingenuity, February deadline

 
December 7th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


If you’re a designer looking for a rare opportunity to shine, look no further
. The folks at Erfurt-based X-FAB and Silicon Valley-based efabless hope to “further ingenuity” by extending a challenge to anyone in the world willing to accept it.

What they’re looking for are IP designs applicable to an ultra-low power voltage reference, and the companies are willing to make it worth your while.

If your design is one of the top three selected, you’ll receive a monetary award and your IP will be made available to a global customer base through both X-FAB’s IP web portal and efabless’ online marketplace.

Best of all – you’ll hold onto all rights for your submission.

Read the rest of IP Design Challenge: efabless & X-FAB promote Ingenuity, February deadline

REUSE 2016: Addressing the Four Freedoms

 
November 24th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


On Thursday next week
, December 1st, the IP community is going to launch its own IP-centric conference, REUSE 2016. It’s an important moment: Can the conference live up to its potential, provide a unique venue for discussions of this critical technology niche, and offer something to the diverse IP industry that they would not find elsewhere – all bundled together in one conference?

There are four major issues that haunt the IP industry, four freedoms demanded by the diverse, global customer base that buys from the IP industry. If REUSE 2016 wants to become the forum for those who provide IP to those customers, all four of these issues need to be addressed on December 1st in one way or another.

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Ridgetop Group & BaySand: Whole greater than Sum of Parts

 
November 17th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


Ridgetop Group
, a complex company based in Tucson, announced a “wide-ranging” partnership with San Jose-based BaySand to “leverage their complementary skills” and offer to SoC developers in Silicon Valley and Asia “design expertise and FPGA-to-ASIC conversion for mass production using Ridgetop Group technology.”

Together the companies say they will “work cooperatively to develop a series of new applications to increase their existing mixed-signal IP portfolios.”

Considering the growing emphasis on IP in the semiconductor supply chain, this news is of particular interest. The implication being IP companies need to provide design services to succeed. Ridgetop Group is an IP company, BaySand a design company. Together they provide what the market needs, good IP and design services tailored exactly to the system integration profile of a particular class of IP.

Read the rest of Ridgetop Group & BaySand: Whole greater than Sum of Parts

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