ESL

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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September 1, 2007

From algorithm to first 3.5G call in record time

Increasing system complexity is forcing design teams to avoid errors during the process of system refinement and reduce ambiguities during system implementation to a minimum. On the other hand, the system design approach they choose must enable a project to advance rapidly through all stages of refinement from an algorithmic model to a real system-on-chip […]

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September 1, 2007

MPSoC and ‘The Vision Thing’

We have entered the era of the multi-processor system-on-chip (MPSoC) but it remains a major frustration that, for a technology that is so imminent and so necessary, there is as yet no real vision out there that goes beyond the parochial. Yes, ‘point’ issues are also being addressed, but we need to define the concept, […]

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June 1, 2007

DAC past, present and future

When I left the semiconductor industry to become an EDA Analyst, I was struck by two things. The first was the professionalism of the PR firms handling the EDA accounts. They not only did jobs that would be expected of them by silicon vendors, but also performed functions that we would consider part of a […]

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June 1, 2007

A pragmatic approach to evaluating NoC strategies

Network-on-chip (NoC) could prove to be an effective methodology that addresses interconnect roadblocks to the development of more complex systems-on-chip. However the term covers many approaches, some of which – simple enhancement to existing bus technologies, the costly adaptation of theoretical networking concepts – fall short either in terms of performance or NREs. The article […]

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June 1, 2007

Optimizing energy in processor-memory subsystems during SoC design

System-level architectural decisions made before any RTL code has been written have a much larger impact on overall system energy than RTL-level, gate-level, or circuit-level tweaks. The Xenergy tool from Tensilica estimates energy for a processor subsystem (processor, caches, local memories) based on the application code that will run on that subsystem. Designers can thus […]

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March 1, 2007

MPSoC demands system-level design automation

The relative performance of a single processor has leveled off in the last decade. Built-in instruction-level parallelism is becoming less efficient because issuing more than four instructions in parallel has little effect on most applications. Meanwhile, recent attempts to boost performance have come dangerously close to the energy/power consumption ceiling. Dedicated hardware accelerators may prove […]

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March 1, 2007

Consumer market promises steady progress

US factory-to-dealer sales of consumer electronics will surpass $155B in 2007, representing 7% growth, according to the most recent forecast from the Consumer Electronics Association. This performance will follow on from an expected $145B market in 2006, a year which surpassed even the most optimistic forecasts by logging growth of 13%. “The industry outlook is […]

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March 1, 2007

Build vs buy in an SoC world

We are now entering the tail end of an era, and many of us do not even know it. For as long as there have been microprocessors, there have been engineers and engineering teams whose job it was to create interconnects. Although this will undoubtedly continue in some companies, the increasing complexity of systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) […]

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March 1, 2007

Electronic system level design for embedded systems

There is a growing productivity gap in the design of embedded systems. One recent survey estimated that the number of lines of embedded code written per year is growing at a rate of 46% a year, although the number of developers available to write it is growing at only 7.5%. The problem is further compounded […]

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