EDACafe Weekly Review January 23rd, 2018

5G Makes Its Public Debut at the Winter Games
January 22, 2018  by David Vye

NI and our customers spend considerable time and effort deep in the development of technology that will enable next-generation communications. We have been working on 5G technology for several years now—long before the general public will experience its amazing capabilities. However, it is worth noting that we and a global audience will be treated to a first look at 5G in February with the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

In addition to the athletic competition, this event will provide one of the first large-scale demonstrations of next-generation wireless media access thanks to 5G. Collaborators Intel and Korea Telecom (KT), with support from global equipment makers and chipmakers such as Samsung, LG, Nokia, Ericsson, ZTE, Qualcomm, Huawei, and others, will showcase select services to enhance the viewing experience with special networks set up in Gangneung Olympic Park, Gwanghwamoon, Seoul, and at other Olympic venues across Korea.
In its 5G service trials for the Winter Olympics, KT has been targeting a number of innovative telecommunication experiences such as interactive time-slicing (synthesized) images for purpose-built smartphones and tablets. The key 5G-based integrated services will provide ultra-real view services (first demonstrated in February 2016), with features that include:

  • Sync View – Transmits super-high-quality video in real time using an ultra-small camera, position sensor, and mobile communication module, enabling viewers to watch the games from the perspective of the players.
  • Interactive Time Slice – All 100 cameras installed at different angles will shoot what’s happening, letting viewers interactively choose the screen and angle they want to watch.
  • 360° VR Live – Events will be captured and streamed by 360-degree cameras and using head-mounted display (HMD) equipment that offers virtual reality (VR) live views of virtually every place in the arena.
  • Omni Point View – Presents the event in virtual 3D space, enabling spectators to enjoy 3D virtual view from the perspectives of the player of their choice or at specific points they want on mobile devices in real time.

These features will provide the world with a first glimpse into the capabilities enabled by 5G breakthroughs. Interactive view-slicing viewing will allow users to zoom in on skaters in the indoor arena and rotate the image similar to visual effects encountered in movies such as The Matrix. To enable this feature, servers will pull images from a hundred cameras lining the arena, reconstituting them in real time to create a customizable view for each subscriber. The ability to spin a skater through 360 degrees in high definition requires that the system be able to deliver 400 megabytes per second, according to HongBeom Jeon, executive vice president at Korea Telecom1.

On the ski courses, the omni point system will let viewers track the progress of competitors with skiers wearing a GPS receiver to pass their location live to the KT servers. The GPS information will be synchronized with images pulled from cameras around the course and the servers will then synthesize the view seen by the competitors in real-time. KT has fitted the cameras with wireless transceivers to connect them in real time, pushing the low latency requirements called for in the 5G specification.

Other events will also provide an immersive user experience with a live view such as that of the bobsled course as any given team races through the turns, thanks to wireless cameras located in the bobsled cockpit. “Given that bobsleds travel at very fast speeds of up to 153 kilometers per hour, it is often difficult to connect them to a wireless network. However, KT has developed a new network frame suitable for fast speed environments,” remarked a company official.

Figure 1. Oh Sung-mok, vice president of KT’s network division, introduces new services running on 5G networks during a press conference in Seoul.


In addition, 5G technology will support drones equipped with video cameras. During a technical trial last September, images were sent from the top of a ski jump tower, and on the subsequent route, down to ground level, providing an alternative method to capture the athlete’s point of view and beyond. 5G and drones are also teaming up for autonomous drone delivery services.

Other 5G-enabled experiences include the mixed-reality (MR) Olympic torch relay and VR walkthrough. With mobile communications, the Olympic flame lit in Greece will travel to Pyeongchang via mobile phone as a virtual image, then on to a real torch, and then back to another torchbearer in the virtual space.

In an earlier limited test, KT engineers deployed three base stations in the center of Seoul that communicated with buses fitted with 28 GHz transceivers for autonomous driving. Of the three sites, two non-mobile cell sites supported 4-sector and 2-sector, respectively, while the third mobile site was equipped with a 5G base station and antenna that supported 2-sector. The bus was equipped with 5G devices by Samsung and Ericsson. The 5G base station and devices used an operating frequency band of 28 GHz capable of supporting maximum data rates of up to 20 Gbps per cell and 3.2 Gbps per device.

Figure 2. KT 5G autonomous driving bus.

Following the success of this test, KT has installed the equipment at Daegwallyeong Tunnels, which consists of six tunnels along Expressway 50, in order to provide services for drivers starting in February 2018. Visitors to the games can use the telecom operator’s self-driving 5G bus to move between skiing events around the resort. The bus will have screens inside to display the multimedia demonstrations, some using 3D display technologies.
Achieving this capability remains a challenge. Even with the three base stations arranged around Seoul’s central boulevard, KT found the signal strength to and from the bus varied much more than with LTE, with the biggest drops often occurring as the bus turned a corner. This represents one of the major obstacles of implementing 5G and its use of millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum in the real world. For the development of the new 5G systems operating up to 100 GHz, there is a need for accurate radio propagation models, an area that NI AWR Design Environment, specifically Visual System Simulator™ (VSS) addresses with channel models that are continually being enhanced to keep pace with the latest advances in technology.
Antenna system directivity of high-frequency communications has a key advantage for mobile operators when it comes to delivering gigabits per second to many users in a cell. With beam steering, a base station can direct more energy at individual users instead of dividing up transmissions into tiny packets that are allocated in round-robin fashion to receivers. But beamforming and other techniques such as Massive multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) rely on multiple antennas and the application of high-performance digital signal processing (DSP). Due to reflections from buildings in an urban environment, it is not possible to serve multiple users continuously with a single base station.
This is where densification of the network will come into play. Base-stations will need to cooperate so that if there is no path to a user, another one that is in range can take over. Another challenge with RF communications in the mmWave spectrum is that the waves propagate more like optical energy than radio waves. If the energy is sent in the wrong direction, the receiver will receive practically nothing. Seoul will be a great proving ground for working out these issues on a grand scale.
KT executives have publicly discussed their 5G deployment plans, which will initially make use of 28 GHz for hotspot urban and 3.5 GHz for urban and rural areas. Through the utilization of these spectrum, KT will be in a position to cover a wide range of use cases such as 4 K/8 K cameras, remote medical services, drones, and public service during the Games. Deployment will be expanded to support smart cities, smart factories, and other new infrastructure projects in the near future. Tech specialists at the Boston Consulting Group estimated in a recent report that mobile companies would have to spend $4 trillion (3.6 trillion euros) on research and investments by 2020 to develop 5G. South Korea alone has invested $1.6 billion aiming to commercialize 5G technology by 2020, according to the GSMA.3

One advantage operators have in deploying 5G early is the potential to use mmWave spectrum to support the infrastructure needed to deploy smaller, lower frequency base stations into dense urban areas more economically. The self-backhaul approach feeds data received on sub-6 GHz bands onto broadband mmWave links between base stations. This overcomes the problem that early mmWave systems are likely to have in dealing with mobile users and eliminates the costly need to lay down fiber networks for backhaul support of a network containing a high number of base stations.

Figure 3. Evolving technologies that will support future 5G networks.

We will be discussing more about this topic and related features in the next NI AWR Design Environment product release and in future technical articles, white papers, workshops, and webinars throughout 2018. In the meantime, learn more about 5G communications design through our recent articles on 5G power amplifier design, 5G filter design, mmWave phased-array automobile radar, and simulation of system metrics for 5G—all available in the NI AWR software resource library.

  1. https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2017/09/2018-winter-olympics-will-be-the-proving-ground-for-5g-technology/
  2. http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20161213000819
  3. http://www.industryweek.com/emerging-technologies/telecom-manufacturers-race-develop-5g-mobile-networks
DVCon – Bigger and Better!
January 19, 2018  by Dennis Brophy

Bigger and Better applies to DVCon U.S. 2018, but the fact is the electronic systems you design and verify grow bigger and better every year as well.  It is no accident that DVCon U.S. has grown, too to keep pace with you!   I am happy to share many of the details of additions we have made to DVCon U.S. to add topics of importance that are motivated by the designs you are working on today and the systems you are creating for tomorrow.  We have been with you at the start of the smartphone, PC and tablet era and are with you now as new huge market potentials are on the horizon for the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable systems and intelligent embedded systems that are on a path to support fully autonomous vehicles.

From Humble Beginnings

We have seen a lot together as DVCon U.S. celebrates its 30th birthday milestone this year!  The first VHDL Users Group meeting was held at the 1988 Design Automation Conference in Anaheim, CA USA during a birds-of-a-feather session.  From there it has grown to be known as DVCon now being held in the United States, Europe, India and China.  After that 1988 meeting, VHDL was joined by Verilog with promotion arms created for both languages.  A language war was presided over and peace in a bilingual/multilingual world was embraced.  From a small start, a panoply of DVCons now reach thousands of practicing design and verification engineers around the world annually.  It is humbling to be part of this growth and success and even more humbling to help all design and verification engineers be that much more productive and successful.

Having been in the industry in 1988, I do recall the planning that went into the 1988 meeting, but, personally, I have no memory of attending it.  If you were there in the beginning or perhaps “not yet born” or “barely out of diapers” as would be the case with younger attendees, I can assure you that this event continues to bring users together to raise awareness of design and verification challenges and share solutions from fellow engineers and tool suppliers.  It is this exchange of information that brings attendees back year after year.  DVCon U.S. 2018 is a highly informative and educational event we hope you will attend.

Conference Highlights

As General Chair, I am privileged to represent the work of the Steering Committee and Technical Program Committee members.   They do most of the work to form the conference content with help from our conference management company, MP Associates.  The following are highlights for this year.

Keynote: Christopher Tice, vice president of Verification Continuum Solutions in the Verification Group at Synopsys will deliver this year’s keynote, “Industry’s Next Challenge: The Petacycle Challenge.”  This is the first time Mr. Tice will address DVCon.  Mr. Tice is a longstanding and respected industry executive who has a focus to drive solutions in fast-growing verticals such as automotive, networking and IoT.  Mr. Tice greatly complements this year’s program content and the future we look forward to creating.

Tutorials & Short Workshops: Of the four days of DVCon, the first and last day offer tutorials.  New for this year are Short Workshops on the fourth day.  The first day of tutorials is colloquially referred to as Accellera Day.   This year Accellera sponsors a morning and afternoon tutorial.  The morning tutorial will cover its emerging Portable Test and Stimulus standard and the afternoon will focus on the popular Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) and the work Accellera has done to complete its IEEE-1800.2™-2017 (the IEEE name for UVM) compatible reference implementation.  On the fourth day of the conference, there will be six tutorials with a large focus in the afternoon on design and verification targeted at autonomous automobiles and the impact of functional safety requirements on those systems.  Are there any bets on when and who will be the first person to come to DVCon in a fully autonomous vehicle?

We added the Short Workshop concept to draw more topics to provide attendees more opportunities to join in discussions and learning exercises that would not be as long and comprehensive as full tutorials.  The four Short Workshops on Thursday include topics on Deep Learning for the Design & Verification Engineer, Formal Verification, Mutation Coverage for Advanced Bug Hunting and one that will seek to have the design and verification engineer focus on getting the job done without concern that underlying it all is formal technology.

Technical Papers and Posters: From novice to expert, you are covered.  Design and verification practitioners are set to cover popular topics in the formal paper presentation sessions and the ever popular poster sessions.  The topics covered include UVM, functional and formal verification, high-level synthesis, C/C++/SystemC, assertion based verification, Portable Stimulus, safety critical verification and ISO 26262 fault analysis, advances in low-power design and verification.  The RISC-V processor core even makes an appearance with a paper on its UVM-based verification model.  You will certainly find something in the program that will help in your daily design and verification activities.  You get to vote on best paper and poster awards to recognize the best-of DVCon.  Authors are greatly appreciative of the recognition.  This year we have shared some best practices for presenters on how they can deliver better presentations.  We hope this shows.  If this works, we may have made your job to discern the best paper and best poster just that much more difficult.

Panel Discussions: We have two panels this year, and both will be on the third day of the conference.  The first panel reflects the issue that has come with the advent of large designs: Big Data.  The more and more verification information that is generated, the harder it is to find root causes to problems or system flaws.  With so much information being generated, you may find it hard to attain the system coverage you seek.  The panel will be a good way for industry experts to explore this more.  The second panel will explore the right tool for the hardest verification jobs.  This reminds me of the old adage that says “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  The good news for design and verification engineers is that there are many tools to choose from and the panel should help us understand which tool is best for which task.  And for both panels, we will be ready and open for questions from the floor.  This is your time to speak too!

Exhibits: We have just about every inch of exhibit space covered.  This makes for exciting social interactions after the conference program ends, during the evening receptions or during breaks.  It is a good venue for business meet-ups when the conference is in session.  You will find the latest in EDA tools, design and verification IP and services represented.  Armed with what you have learned in the conference setting, the exhibitors will be ready to share their advances that might help you with many of your pressing design and verification issues.  Whether you are in the exhibit area or connecting with peers at the hosted lunches, you will have many opportunities to network with your peers and learn from each other.

Thank You

On behalf of the DVCon U.S. 2018 Steering Committee and Technical Program Committee, I want to thank the hundreds, if not thousands of those who worked on or supported prior conferences from 1988 until today.  It is their hard work and dedication that sets the stage for all of us now.  I want to acknowledge the ongoing support of conference sponsors and Accellera Systems Initiative for their financial backing.

As you make your way to DVCon U.S. 2018, our conference “front door” is managed by MP Associates who has been the conference committee’s back office the past year to bring this full program to you.  I want to thank them for all their work as well.

With that, I look forward to seeing many returning faces and meeting new attendees.  I offer each and everyone one of you a hearty welcome to DVCon U.S. 2018!  Let’s come and learn, exchange ideas and advance design and verification together.

To register for DVCon U.S. 2018 visit here.  Advance registration is available through January 26th.

#DAC55 3: Last Call for Designer and IP Track presentations for 2018 event in San Francisco
January 19, 2018  by Sharon Hu - General Chair DAC55 and a professor in dept of CS and Engineering at Univ of Nortre Dame, Indiana

One of the most popular part of Design Automation Conference needs you! The Designer and IP tracks are open for submissions and you have until Jan. 23 to send in your abstracts.

These sessions are where industry experts discuss different tools, flows, and methodologies that will help you and your design team. In addition, they provide excellent opportunities for education and networking between end users and tool developers.

I’ve been to many of these sessions in recent years, and if attendance is any indication, they’ve become valuable parts of the DAC program. Mac McNamara, my predecessor as General Chair last year, compared design to putting socks on a chicken, but I can say from sitting in on several sessions that it can be done!

The Designer and IP track presentations are intended to be free of marketing and sales pitches and tuned to the needs of today’s designers. That’s a key reason they’ve become so popular. Not only will your work receive a lot of attention from fellow designers and tool users but the submission process is extremely easy.

All you need to do to is to submit a 100-word description of your presentation with six slides. Yes, you did read correctly – six slides and 100 words.  If it’s accepted you can begin to educate the 2018 attendees how to put socks on those chickens!

This year’s Designer Track and IP Track will include presentations, poster sessions and a rich set of invited talks/panels for information exchange and interactions.

The DAC Designer Track brings together IC designers, embedded software and system developers, automotive electronics engineers, security experts, engineering managers, and verification engineers from across the globe. Past presenters have included AMD, ARM, Bosch, BMW, Cadence, Delphi, GM, and more.

Leading the Designer track committee is Chair Zhuo Li from Cadence. Zhuo has been a member of the DAC Executive Committee for several years and has experience in leading the Designer Track program.  Zhuo is joined by designer track Vice Chairs Robert Oshana from Qualcomm/NXP and Renu Mehra from Synopsys. Rounding out the excellent team are subcommittee chairs that come from companies such as Global Foundries, AMD, Intel, NXP and Analog Devices. A complete list can be found here.

The IP track this year is chaired by Ty Garbere, here in the Silicon Valley. Ty is new to the Executive Committee but not new to IP.  Ty and his team stretches from the Austin, Texas, to the Bay Area to Marseille, France (see all the names and affiliations here).


As part of our outreach to attendees for these tracks, we like to say there is no better way to improve your “Design and IP IQ” in such a short amount of time. To help improve that IQ, submit your proposed presentations today! And remember to visit the dac.com for updates as we head into the final months of planning for 2018.


The Phil Kaufman Award Ceremony and Dinner –– Come See and Be Seen!
January 19, 2018  by Bob Smith, Executive Director

Anyone who joins us for the Phil Kaufman Award ceremony and dinner knows attendees are the “who’s who” of the electronic system design ecosystem and this year’s evening will be no different. Come to “see and be seen” at The GlassHouse in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, February 8, for the Phil Kaufman Award ceremony and dinner. We will honor Dr. Rob A. Rutenbar, senior vice chancellor for Research at the University of Pittsburgh, the recipient of the 2017 Phil Kaufman Award for Distinguished Contributions to Electronic System Design.

If you attend, you’ll rub shoulders with executives from Arm, Cadence, Mentor, a Siemens Business, PDF Solutions, Synopsys and ACM SigDA who are sponsoring the evening presented by the ESD Alliance and the IEEE Council on EDA (CEDA). Attendance is open to member companies at a substantial discount. Of course, you don’t need to be a member to attend. Registration is open and information can be found at: http://bit.ly/2mt9XId

Everyone attending the dinner will help us celebrate the positive news coming from our most recent Market Statistics Service (MSS) report. As just noted in our Q3 2017 MSS report, industry revenue was up 8 percent over Q3 2016. Another positive sign –– employment in the system design ecosystem is up almost 10% when compared to Q3 2016.

The MSS newsletter can be found at: https://goo.gl/qd5bvF. Naturally, the complete quarterly MSS report has much more information, containing detailed revenue data broken out by both categories and geographic regions. The report is available to member companies of the ESD Alliance, another excellent reason to join.

About Dr. Rob Rutenbar

Rob Rutenbar’s contributions are significant and include founding multiple startups, including Neolinear, an analog tool company now part of Cadence. As an academic researcher at CMU, he pioneered a range of models, algorithms and tools for analog IC designs. During his tenure at the University of Illinois, he reworked his long-running CMU course, “VLSI CAD: Logic to Layout,” into the first Massive, Open, Online Course (MOOC) on EDA, providing training to thousands of engineers.

He’s a credit to the industry and is well deserving of the Phil Kaufman Award. Please join us in feting Dr. Rob Rutenbar. Everyone at the ESD Alliance and IEEE CEDA looks forward to seeing you February 8. Registration is open until Friday, January 26. Details are available at: http://bit.ly/2mt9XId

Follow us at:

Website: www.esd-alliance.org

ESD Alliance Bridging the Frontier blog: http://bit.ly/2oJUVzl

Twitter: @ESDAlliance

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8424092

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ESDAlliance

Self-Driving Exploration: Past, Present and Future
January 18, 2018  by Sanjay Gangal

NASA’s first launch didn’t reach the moon. In the quest for self-driving cars automakers are aiming for the autonomous moonshot.  Competition is accelerating between major car brands, tech companies and Tesla. What advanced tech is coming to our roads and when?

Listen to the CES Panel held in Las Vegas.

CES Panel: Autonomous Vehicles in the Cities of Tomorrow
January 18, 2018  by Sanjay Gangal

Where do autonomous vehicles stand today and when will they be ready?  How will they operate in connected cities and will consumers be ready to use them? Listen to this panel of experts working on autonomy share their perspectives on the current and future state of self-driving technology.

Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon is at CES to showcase the company’s latest inventions that are leading the world to 5G in industries from IoT to automotive.

DownStream: Solutions for Post Processing PCB Designs

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