A View from the Top: A Virtual Prototyping Blog

Archive for 2011

 

DAC Sunday – For Networking in Cars, Ethernet has an Edge

No, not social networking in cars. I’ll leave that for a different time … This is about data and control carrying networks in cars and where they are going. Yesterday I attended here at DAC the Sunday workshop on “Intra and Inter-Vehicle Networking in Automotive: Past, Present, and Future”. It seems like Ethernet has won the battle, albeit not for all areas in the car.

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Further Tightening Implementation Loops

The industry did it again! Once again we are tightening the loops from system-level to implementation even further. 2010 was the year in which TSMC added the system-level flow to their reference flows for the first time. This year’s TSMC Reference Flow 12 marks the second revision of a system-level flow in which we are connecting a semiconductor manufacturer.all the way up to the system-level!

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The Future of Urban Mobility – I Have Driven It!

I have driven what could be the future of Urban Mobility. I have driven in it, to be precise – somebody else was controlling it. The future looks exciting, a bit concerning at times, but definitely interesting. Interesting especially for electronics, because the type of developments necessary to enable future Urban Mobility is pretty mind boggling and a definite driver for semiconductors and new design techniques.

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Back to the Stone Age at ESC San Jose

The embedded systems conference is a mystery to me. It always has been. And this year it has been the weirdest of all. A dinosaur? Really? Yes, really, I too the picture of “Samson” below …. Something is not right here. Aren’t they a sign of extinction? I must have missed something in my marketing class. Or the engineer in me is finally trying to break free again and does not get it. No wonder, according to the “Specimens of Tyrannosaurus” Wikpedia page, I also had missed the eBay auction in 2000 in which “Z-rex” was not sold for $8 million and then was subsequently renamed. Oh well.

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Disruptive Ripple Effects From Implementation to Systems

The big topic these days seem to be the effects of 3D and silicon technology. Even though I am now more of a system-level guy, I do have full appreciation of technology effects given that for the first chip I developed, I had to design a three transistor memory cell which ended up in a FFT Chip for HDTV research. An interesting question I get asked more often these days is how the changes in semiconductor technology and assembly will impact the system level. My answer is: profoundly! How fast we will get there and how disruptive they will be, remains an open question to me.

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The Final Four in SoC Design

Before March Madness and the Final Four Butler win become too much of a distant memory, I wanted to briefly write about a different kind of “Final Four”, the four challenges which KH Kim, Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics, Co., Ltd., presented at day three of the recent Synopsys Users Group (SNUG). The audience was in for a treat, the presentation was great in structure, content and delivery!

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Wrestling for Dollars in a World of Open Source Androids

This is really a companion Blog to an article I recently wrote, called “Which Design Comes First: Hardware Or Software?”. In this article I argued that the landscape of software responsibilities is rapidly changing, and with it the way the different players can actually make money. I ended the article with the words “Chip vendors are trying to battle their way back into monetizing on software after Android essentially neutralized them. The hardware-software world remains very interesting!”, Well, this deserves some examples.

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Articulating the Value of System-Level Design

A trip up to Mount Tamalpais can not only be fun, it can change perspectives. It did hit me again when enjoying the panoramic view from up there, that system-level design value is hard to articulate. When taking the “View from the Top” perspective, one is so far away from the actual design implementation that value is pretty straightforward to understand but hard to translate into actual dollars. That is indeed a challenge we find in electronic system-level design as well.

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The 21st Century Engineer–10 Years On!

Well, as January is always over I went back into the garage and checked my IEEE Spectrum from January 10 years ago to think about the predictions from that time. The topic  of the 2001 forecast issue was “Always On – Living in a Networked World”. Overall I am mighty impressed how accurate the outlook of the IEEE team of editors was!

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“Gehen Sie nicht über Los” – Development projects can be like playing Monopoly

Watching today’s electronics projects reminds me of playing Monopoly when growing up. The term “Gehen Sie nicht über Los” has become somewhat proverbial in German language for “game over” situations. It is printed on the card in Monopoly which sends you directly to jail, does not let you pass the starting field and does not grant you the per round income. Missing a deadline in a project can be like that, only the result is not jail but a dead project, a dead company or a pivotal point in a project manager’s career. And that’s where system-level design comes in to the rescue ….

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