September 2009

September 2, 2009

Part 3 – A unified, scalable SystemVerilog approach to chip and subsystem verification

The article describes LSI’s work on the use of a single SystemVerilog-based (SV) verification environment for both the chip and its submodules. The environment is based on SV’s Advanced Verification Methodology (AVM) libraries, although alternatives are available. One particular reason for choosing AVM was that LSI wanted to leverage its transaction-level modeling capabilities as well […]

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September 1, 2009

Reading the runes

When we first reviewed the consumer electronics market at the beginning of the year, there were still hopes that growth could remain statistically flat despite global economic woes. However, at the beginning of the summer, the Consumer Electronics Association revised its forecast down from January’s -0.7% to -7.7%, implying total factory-gate sales of $165B. The […]

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September 1, 2009

Pushing USB 2.0 to the limit

USB offers many advantages for use on embedded systems, although software developers remain concerned about the additional complexity it can bring to an application. For example, software drivers for SPI, RS-232 and other traditional serial protocols typically involve little more than read and write routines, while USB software drivers can span thousands of lines, incorporating […]

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September 1, 2009

Implementing a unified computing architecture

Netronome offers a range of programmable Network Flow Processors, which deliver high-performance packet processing and are aimed at designers of communications equipment whose requirements extend beyond simple forwarding. Many network processors and multicore CPUs lack L4-L7 programmability or cannot scale to 10Gbit/s and beyond. Netronome’s flow processors are powered by 40 programmable networking cores that […]

September 1, 2009

Extending UPF for incremental growth

Erich Marschner Accellera’s Unified Power Format (UPF) is in production use today, delivering the low-power system-on-chip (SoC) designs that are so much in demand. Building upon that success, IEEE Std 1801-2009 [UPF] offers additional features that address the challenges of low-power design and verification. These include more abstract specifications for power supplies, power states, and […]

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September 1, 2009

Linux Nucleus… Or both

Until recently, operating system (OS) specification for embedded systems has been seen largely as an ‘either/or’ exercise. Similarly, OSs that have their foundations in the embedded market and those that have grown out of desktop computers have been seen as competing rather than complementary technologies. Cost and performance criteria within specifications will often lead to […]

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September 1, 2009

Ensuring reliability through design separation

System designs have traditionally achieved reliability through redundancy, even though this inevitably increases component count, logic size, system power and cost. The article describes the design separation feature in Altera software that seeks to address these as well as today’s conflicting needs for low power, small size and high functionality while maintaining high reliability and […]

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September 1, 2009

Engineering creativity

To the world at large, Junot Diaz is well on the way to becoming a literary superstar. His novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao has already earned critical superlatives and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Literature. And deservedly so. It is a fabulous, accessible book, expressed in language that—when you buy a copy […]

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September 1, 2009

Bringing a coherent system-level design flow to AMS

For two decades, the benefits of ESL and abstractions have been supposedly confined to engineers working on digital designs and to system architects. Analog and mixed-signal (AMS) design has largely remained a ‘circuit level’ activity. This article shows that tools exist that now also allow AMS engineers to exploit abstraction, and that can make all […]

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September 1, 2009

System level DFM at 22nm

The article provides an overview of one common theme in the papers presented at a special session of the 2009 Design Automation Conference, Dawn of the 22nm Design Era. As such, we would recommend that readers wishing to access still more detail on this topic (in particular, on device structures for 22nm and project management […]

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