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Archive for March, 2019

Major themes at DATE Conference: autonomous driving, post-CMOS technologies, Design for Inspection

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Juergen Bortolazzi. © DATE 2019

Risking to miss your flight? Save time at the airport by letting your car find a parking place by itself. Much like valet parking, but without a valet. This is the goal of a project from the Volkswagen Group, that Jürgen Bortolazzi from Porsche described in his opening keynote at the DATE Conference – which took place in Florence, Italy, March 25th to 29th.

Autonomous driving was one of the key themes at the European event on design and test this year, and it echoed on many other speeches and debates during the conference. Bortolazzi observed that there is a gap between the current SAE level of driving automation, L2 (ADAS systems) and the next level L3 (real autonomous drive), therefore he predicted an intermediate level L2+ with more advanced ADAS. But getting to L3, he pointed out, will require major reductions in cost and power consumption. Autonomous drive takes a huge number of expensive sensors, and such a big amount of on-board processing power that – with the current technologies – car electronics might require water cooling. Bortolazzi also highlighted that China is very well positioned in the quest for autonomous driving, thanks to a comprehensive plan from the Chinese government that includes a regulation framework.

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Major stories this week: market reports, Synopsys, SMPSs, AI acceleration, batteries

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Market research firms released new reports this week offering outlooks on three key industries; among them EDA, where Synopsys is making news with several announcements. Also, recent or upcoming conferences and trade shows are attracting attention on AI acceleration in servers, SMPS design and architectures, new battery technologies.

More 300mm wafer fabs as foundries slow down and EDA market grows

The worldwide number of operational 300mm wafer fabs is expected to climb to 121 this year and grow to a total of 138 fabs in 2023, according to a report recently released by IC Insights. As of today, however, this growing manufacturing capacity is being confronted by a slowing foundry business, as TrendForce points out in its newest research report. Foundries face a severe challenge in 1Q19, with global production revenue expected to decline by around 16% compared to the same quarter 2018, arriving at 14.6 billion USD. TSMC, Samsung and GlobalFoundries take first, second and third place respectively in market shares. According to TrendForce, although TSMC's market share reaches 48.1%, the foundry suffers a near 18% decline in year-on-year growth.

EDA, instead, will continue to grow at a significant pace: a recent report from ResearchAndMarkets.com values the global electronic design automation tools market at USD 9.76 billion in 2018 and predicts this figure to reach USD 17.35 billion by 2024 – with a forecasted CAGR of 10.1% during the period of 2019-2024.

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Major stories this week: Interconnect fabric, RISC-V ecosystem, ARM Neoverse, USB4

Friday, March 15th, 2019

Three recent and unrelated events confirm the ever-growing importance of the technologies and architectures used to connect processing elements at all levels – within a chip, among chips, within a datacenter. Other significant announcements made over the past few days concern the growing RISC-V ecosystem; the first Arm Neoverse system development platform on TSMC 7nm process technology; and EDA/T&M vendors getting ready for USB4.

Bit Traffic

On March 11, the GPU vendor Nvidia announced the acquisition of Mellanox, a key player in high-performance interconnect technologies. With this acquisition, Nvidia aims at optimizing datacenter-scale workloads across the entire computing, networking and storage stack to achieve higher performance, greater utilization and lower operating cost. According to Nvidia, datacenters in the future will be architected as giant compute engines with tens of thousands of compute nodes, designed holistically with their interconnects for optimal performance. Hence the strategic importance of joining forces with Mellanox.

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