Semiconductor IP News and Trends Blog
DAC Report – Latency; Platform as a Service; 262626; and ARM-12
Notes from my Tuesday DAC visits with CAST IP, Mentor Graphics, Dassault Systemes, Chipestimate.com, and Globalfoundries-ARM.
Here are but a few of the companies, hallway discussions, and presentations that I enjoyed during Tuesday at DAC:
1. Performance is a function of latency and power – as Gary Smith noted in his pre-DAC EDA and IP trends presentation. One example of the need to balance latency and power is in the application of real-time video streaming (e.g., H.264 video encoders). Latency is the delay that occurs between the processing and transmission of live video. A simple way to initially gauge latency is by waving your hand quickly in front of the camera and watching for blurring of the image on the display. I saw none during my demo.
Other news from CAST highlighted a joint announcement with IP company Beyond Semiconductor concerning an ultra-low-power, 32-bit BA21 embedded processor.
2. Hallway chat with Mentor’s M&A expert, Serge Leef:
Software as a Service (SaaS) for EDA cloud-based applications seems passé. Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the new “black.” The key driver in this change seems to be the push by next-generation chip designers for a more robust user experience (UE; see “Experience Required”). Serge sees the trend to user-experience designs as essential to the evolution of EDA tools. He even believes them to be a source of revenue in terms of a micro-business model.
3. Dassault Systemes offered several interesting technology demos. While their Netvibes product provides for intelligent dashboarding, Tuscany’s PinPoint enables tracking progress from synthesis to GDSII. In related news:
— IP protection and management includes synchronization of databases and documentation. In this way, a close partnership with Magillem is proving very useful. (More about this in the near future.)
— Simulation Lifecycle Management (SLM) for semiconductor verification and validation (V&V) flows may evolve quickly into a framework. The effort in the automotive industry via ISO262626 may establish a working model for the EDA industry.
4. Globalfoundries presentation at Chipestimate.com “IP Talks.” Subi Kerngeri, VP of the Advanced Technology Division, talked briefly about many things, mostly centering on the need to offer a combination of device technology design and SoC manufacturing expertise. But this need is fraught with challenges. (Reference: “Modular FinFET Increases Planar-to-Non-Planar IP Reuse)
He noted that Globalfoundries was the first fab to optimize for the newly announced ARM Cortex-A12 CPU – POP IP combined with Globalfoundries’ 28-SLP process. Also, Kerngeri emphasized the success of Fully Depleted SOI technology at 28 nm, saying that it was pretty much like bulk CMOS for designers. STMicro is their partner in FD-SOI. This technology has enabled 0.63 v at 1-GHz performance in a dual A-9 implementation.