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Archive for November, 2021

A quick look at the 2021 Linley Fall Processor Conference

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

This week EDACafe takes a quick look at the 2021 edition of the Linley Fall Processor Conference, organized by technology analysis firm The Linley Group at a physical venue in Santa Clara, CA, and followed by a virtual event. Besides updates on deep learning accelerators, the conference also covered ‘conventional’ processing solutions and some other types of IP. This article will only provide a general overview of the event; full content can be accessed from the conference website, downloading the proceedings (presentations slides) for free.

AI trends: bigger training workloads, segmentation of the edge-AI market

In his opening keynote, Linley Group’s Principal Analyst Linley Gwennap reiterated the key concepts from last Spring processor conference, adding updates on the recent AI trends. Among them, the size of NLP models keeps growing: Google’s Switch Transformer has 1.6 trillion parameters. To train ever-larger neural networks, Cerebras and Tesla are using wafer-scale technology and other innovations. In the datacenter, Nvidia is finding tougher competition from Qualcomm AI 100 and forthcoming Intel Ponte Vecchio. According to Gwennap, Nvidia still leads in performance, but not in efficiency. As for edge-AI, this market is fragmenting into high-end chips for camera-based systems and low-power chips for simple sensors. The conference also saw the participation of TechInsights – the Canadian reverse engineering firm that has recently acquired The Linley Group – with a presentation on the performance gap between CPU and main memory. Among other findings, TechInsights analysts concluded that SRAM cell size scaling trend is getting worse than Logic Standard Cell because SRAM cell does not have DTCO (Design Technology Co-Optimization) scaling options.

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Latest release of Ansys HFSS 3D Components adds a new model delivery mechanism

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

Ansys’ Matt Commens explains the new function and recaps the key features of this collaboration tool, which enables designers of high frequency systems to use accurate 3D component models specifically developed for the HFSS simulation engine

The latest Ansys release (2021 R2) includes updates to HFSS 3D Components, a tool that enables what the company calls “electromagnetic simulation collaboration” between component vendors and system integrators through the use of 3D component models specifically developed for HFSS (Ansys’ 3D high frequency electromagnetic simulation software). Matt Commens, Principal Product Manager for HFSS at Ansys, has described the key features and new functions of HFSS 3D Components in the video interview he has recently given to EDACafe’s Sanjay Gangal; in addition to that, we have asked Matt a few more questions on some specific aspects.

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AV market consolidation; Indy AV race; solid-state batteries; acquisitions

Monday, November 1st, 2021

Global scrutiny of the Nvidia-Arm deal continues: adding to a list of other authorities, European Union regulators have reportedly opened an investigation over concerns of limited competition. The EU Commission said Nvidia had offered concessions to address preliminary concerns, but that they weren’t enough. A decision from European regulators is expected within March 15. As for the other news updates this week, several of them concern autonomous vehicles – including two acquisitions of radar specialist companies.

Autonomous driving tech market is consolidating

According to market intelligence firm CB Insights, a few key players are emerging in autonomous driving technology, and the market is consolidating around major companies like Waymo and Aurora. Every round backed by top venture capital firms in the AV market over the last two years has been Series C or later. This indicates that – as the AV market consolidates – the top VCs monitored by CB Insights “are focusing on the winners, seeing stronger potential for leading self-driving developers rather than early-stage companies.” Another sign of consolidation is the move from many deals to just a few big ones: total funding to autonomous driving companies spiked in 2018, but “since then, deal count has declined significantly as total funding continues to rise.” The majority of the funding by top VCs in AVs over the last two years “has come from just two mega-rounds ($2.25B in 2020 and $2.5B in 2021) to Waymo.” According to CB Insights, the top venture capital firms are now backing companies working on simulation and training, developing the full self-driving stack, enhancing mapping and localization, and more. “Total equity funding to the space has already eclipsed $12B in 2021, up more than 50% from all of 2020,” the analysts elaborated. The selected top VCs monitored by CB Insights “have participated in a record-breaking $3.85B of total funding to autonomous driving companies so far in 2021, with the total projected to be above $5.1B by year end if the trend continues.”

“Smart Money” refers to a group of top VCs as defined by CB Insights.
Credit: CB Insights

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