Volume 4

December 1, 2007

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Every economic wobble sees technology’s ciabattering classes put down their salad-stuffed sandwiches and decaf mochas to forewarn of threats to venture capital (VC) investment. And so has it gone since the sub-prime mortgage bug finally bit. OK, as a public service, here’s the skinny. We surveyed 20 VC firms and corporate venturing arms and got […]

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December 1, 2007

Portable multimedia SoC design: a global challenge

Today more than ever, the difference between design success and failure resides in engineers’ ability to master all critical design factors at once. Meanwhile, systems-on-chip (SoCs) represent a multidisciplinary challenge that spans the entire flow from architecture through design to test and finally mass production. For portable applications in particular, SoCs present especially stringent constraints […]

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December 1, 2007

Mastering the memory maze

Since the early 1980s,most of the semiconductor business has been enthralled by the microprocessor, the PC and commodity DRAMs. For all the talk of potential ‘better markets’ and ‘more profitable businesses to be in’, PCs and their brethren came to represent 35- 40% of the industry’s output. They constituted the prime platform for not only […]

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December 1, 2007

Implementing DDR3 DIMMs with modern FPGAs

While DDR3 SDRAM offers speed and low-power benefits, the fly-by termination topology defined by the JEDEC specification for DDR3 SDRAM DIMMs creates interesting challenges for FPGAs. The JEDEC topology significantly reduces the simultaneous switching noise that plagues high-frequency parallel interfaces, but also introduces the need for read and write leveling to compensate for the deliberate […]

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December 1, 2007

Asynchronous clocks prove tough for verification

For simulation to correctly predict silicon behavior, the logic implementing a design should adhere to the setup and hold constraints specified for clocked elements. However, with multiple asynchronous clocks on a single chip driving logic, designers cannot help but violate setup and hold constraints. This causes metastability, which in its turn leads to non-deterministic delays […]

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December 1, 2007

A verification methodology for programmable and reconfigurable processors

The article describes and illustrates, by way of a case study, an innovative approach to functional verification. It enables the reuse of test patterns through the coordinated combination of a top-level testbench and subordinate testbench modules. It is based on a new add-on tool, VTrac+, that extends Mentor Graphics’ ModelSim/Questa software to stimulate, compare and […]

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December 1, 2007

Visibility enhancement eases system validation for multicore SoCs

How visibility-enhanced debug works The emergence of ‘visibility enhancement’ technology provides verification teams with an optimal trade-off between simulation performance and signal visibility. Visibility enhancement enables a methodology consisting of an analysis-driven partial signal dumping procedure that limits the impact on emulation performance while still providing full signal visibility for debug. These are some key […]

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December 1, 2007

Using a ‘divide and conquer’ approach to system verification

Today’s increasingly complex designs typically need to undergo verification at three different levels: block, interconnect and system. There are now well-established strategies for addressing the first two, but the system level, while in many ways the ultimate test, remains the weakest link in the verification process. System verification normally begins only after a prototype board […]

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December 1, 2007

UPF delivers on power

Long before the first portable computer batteries exploded, and even before anyone had the first visions of building massive data centers in the cold northwestern states of Oregon,Washington and Alaska, power consumption by electronic devices was a tough problem for chip designers. The difference now is that we are trying to manage power in ever-smaller […]

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December 1, 2007

The simulation and design of software-defined radios

The paper discusses the simulation, design, and test of software-defined radios (SDRs), initially using a legacy 16QAM waveform, followed by a new SDR waveform -orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA). The SDR system’s error vector magnitude (EVM) is first analyzed and its performance is compared with the legacy waveform results. The implementation also includes the […]

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