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Archive for August, 2015

The Future of 3D Technologies is Fast and Heterogeneous

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

With the slow down in Moore’s law, technologists are now speculating on what future integrated circuits will look like.  One constraint is the clock frequency of CMOS processors,  which is topping out at around 4GHz for high-end processors in the 100W range, down to around 1-2GHz for ~5W processors used in laptop and mobile applications. With this constraint on clock speed, IC designers are adding more cores to increase processing throughput. Along with these additional processors is an increasing need for easy access to high-speed memory. Performance will not be achieved if multiple processors are contending for shared memory access.

One solution to this challenge are new 3D-manufacturing technologies in combination with new chip architectures to overcome the bandwidth-latency barrier in high-count multi-core chips.

The following will be the key enablers for 3D manufacturing: (more…)

Good news! The Next Big Thing in Verification is Already Here.

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

The Wilson Research Group 2014 functional verification study exposes many interesting trends in the techniques used and troubles seen by both designers and verification engineers.  Harry Foster of Mentor Graphics has been been blogging about the study for some time now.

As I was looking over the report slides, there was an interest trend that stood out for me.

Figure 1. The Mean Time that Design Engineers spend doing design versus doing verification.

(more…)

A Verification Standard for Design Reliability

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

_do-254The great thing about a standard is that once you decide to use it, your life as a designer is suddenly easier.  Using a standard reduces the long list of choices and decisions that need to be made to get a working product out the door.  It also gives assurance to the customer that you are following best practices of the industry.

A standard for the world of aviation electronics (avionics) is the RTCA/DO-254, Design Assurance Guidance For Airborne Electronic Hardware.  It is a process assurance flow for civilian aerospace design of complex electronic hardware typically implemented using ASICs or big FPGAs.  In the USA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that the DO-254 process is followed.  In Europe there is an equivalent standard called EUROCAE ED-80.

At first glance the standard seems daunting. It defines how design and verification flows must be strongly tied to both implementation and traceability. In DO-254 projects, HDL coding standards must be documented, and any project code must be reviewed to ensure it follows these standards.  They address the following issues: (more…)

New 3D XPoint Fast Memory a Big Deal for Big Data

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

After years of research, a new memory technology emerges that combines the best attributes of DRAM and NAND, promising to “completely evolve how it’s used in computing.”

Memory and storage technologies such as DRAM and NAND have been around for decades, with their original implementations able to perform only at a fraction of the level achieved by today’s latest products. But those performance gains, like most in computing, are typically evolutionary, with each generation incrementally faster and more cost effective than the one preceding it. Quantum leaps in performance often come from completely new or radically different ways of solving a particular problem. The 3D XPoint technology announced by Intel in partnership with Micron comes from the latter approach.

The initial technology stores 128Gb per die across two memory layers.

“This has no predecessor and there was nothing to base it on,” said Al Fazio, Intel senior fellow and director of Memory Technology Development.  “It’s new materials, new process architecture, new design, new testing. We’re going into some existing applications, but it’s really intended to completely evolve how it’s used in computing.”

Touted as the biggest memory breakthrough since the introduction of NAND in 1989, 3D XPoint is a new memory technology that is non-volatile like NAND memory, but is up to 1,000 times faster, with a faster speed only attainable by DRAM, and with endurance up to 1,000 times better than NAND. (more…)

S2C: FPGA Base prototyping- Download white paper



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