Semiconductor IP News and Trends Blog
Talking Sense With Moortec…Speak No Evil..?!
In the first of this blog trilogy, Talking Sense with Moortec…’Are you listening’, I looked at not waiting for hindsight to be wise after the event, instead make use of what’s available and act ahead of time. In the second, Talking Sense with Moortec…’See no evil’, we bizarrely saw how Sir Francis Drake, Admiral Nelson and Clint Eastwood all had something in common with Mizaru, one of the 3 wise monkeys (Kikazaru and Iwazaru being the other two).
In the final blog, I would like to consider Iwazaru…’speak no evil’.
In polite society (think ‘Sense & Sensibility’ or ‘Pride & Prejudice’ in 19th Century British literature), it used to be said that children should be seen but not heard. Then as they grew up, they were expected to only politely comment on experiences…this politeness has (allegedly) carried through British society. Roll on 200 years and we are now accused of being the masters of the understatement, or more likely, not saying what we really mean!
This can pose a few challenges; under UK Health & Safety Law, it is as much an offence not to notify of a potential hazard, as it is to be the perpetrator of the offence, that doesn’t sit well with the ‘be positive’ messaging. It’s pretty clear that Iwazaru is likely to keep ‘shtum’.
There are so many rules about verbal etiquette…I’ve heard it said that one shouldn’t discuss money, religion or politics on a first date…wise words I’m sure, yet what do you talk about?! All these negative comments about talking up or speaking your mind. In history it is typically only the brave who speak out, often under hardship or duress…they are commonly seen as trouble makers or more recently as ‘the whistle-blower’. Yet, when does whistle-blowing become heroic having moved on from ‘telling tales’…I guess it depends on your point of view, for many it’s the definition of the truth.
Back to our SoC, we know we have a solid engineering team who want the truth as a collective entity. A great way to get at that truth, without relying on heroes or whistle-blowers, is the use of established in-chip monitoring IP. Whether you want to do the basics of monitoring temperature as an ‘insurance policy’ or do more in-depth analysis and optimisation by using multiple types of sensor to support, for example, Adaptive Voltage Scaling (AVS), these monitors can provide a lot of real-time data. My colleague Richard McPartland covered this in his recent blog entitled “Key Applications For In-Chip Monitoring … In-Die Process Speed Detection”
So is there hope for our three monkeys in SoC design? Iwazaru doesn’t want to talk negatively, Mizaru will always ‘turn a blind eye’ and Kikazaru only sees positive things, none of them is prepared to step up…it would appear that in-chip monitoring is the only option, to provide real time data about what is going on in your chip. And let’s be honest, surely no-one will keep quiet if they know of an issue, that could cost several million dollars in mask costs alone…so maybe the UK Health and Safety law should apply to SoC development too?!