Selection of the right on-chip network is critical to meeting the requirements of today’s advanced SoCs. There is easy IP integration with IP cores from many sources with different protocols, and an UVM verification environment.
John Bainbridge, staff technologist, CTO Office, Sonics Inc., said that it optimizes the system performance. Virtual channels offer efficient resource usage – saves gates and wires. The non-blocking network leads to an improved system performance. There are flexible topology choices with optimal network to match requirements.
Power management is key with advanced system partitioning, and an improved design flow and timing closure. Finally, the development environment allows easy design capture and has performance analysis tools.
For the record, there are several SoC integration challenges that need to be addressed, such as IP integration, frequency, throughput, physical design, power management, security, time-to-market and development costs.
SGN exceeds requirements
SGN met the tablet performance requirement with fabric frequency of 1066MHz. It has an efficient gate count of 508K gates. There are features such as an advanced system partitioning, security and I/O coherency. There is support for system concurrency as well as advanced power management.
Sonics offers system IP solutions such as SGN, a router based NoC solution, with flexible partitioning and VC (Virtual Channel) support. The frequency is optimized with credit based flow control.
SSX/SLX is message based crossbar/ShareLink solutions based on interleaved multi-channel technology. It has target based QoS with three arbitration levels. The SonicsExpress is for power centric clock domain crossing. There is sub-system re-use and decoupling. The MemMax manages and optimizes the DRAM efficiency while maintaining system QoS. There is run-time programmability for all traffic types. The SonicsConnect is a non-blocking peripheral interconnect.
There are more available solutions than ever in power devices, according to Alexandre Avron, market and technology analyst, Yole Développement. The landscape is moving, and its moving quite fast, from every region of the world.
There are many opportunities for power device manufacturers. This is the time for strong strategic planning and making the best choices. He was speaking at a seminar on the power semiconductor devices industry, in Lyon, France.
IGBTs and SJ MOSFETs
Silicon is not dead and will still live for a long time. Standard device design are slowly disappearing (planar IGBT, planar MOSFET). IGBT and SJ MOS are highly mature technologies. Rules of competition are evolving.
Historic players need to keep on innovating. New entrants have a different business model: there are more and more foundries, with fab-less and fab-light players. IGBT is still a key asset: master and secure IGBT supply is necessary for system makers. SJ MOSFETS will be used in more and more systems, taking market shares to planar MOSFET.
About SiC and GaN, there is still a big question mark: Where and when? With time, it is becoming clearer. SiC will target medium and high power. From our point of view, medium power (1200V base) is a mean to arrive to high power (+3.3kV). R&D has to go through this to reach higher voltage. The main issue is still on current ratings (having a high impact on cost).
GaN will target low and medium power, and will probably allow extraordinary power supplies designs (Tiny supplies, very high frequency systems). It is almost ready for 600V, but not yet at 1200V. It leaves room for SiC to develop and expand. Major players are involved on both fields — SiC and GaN. They need to be present on both domains, as there will be an overlap, but the split is unclear: we will probably experience a very fine segmentation, not only by voltage or current, but also by frequency, ruggedness, system size, temperature of operation or maybe culture or history.
SiC is now here. First full SiC PV inverters are available. First field tests for SiC in rail traction is ongoing. GaN is under qualification. According to the most advanced players, 600V GaN devices samples are tested by system makers.
This morning, I woke up to find the headline staring at me: Steve Jobs has died! RIP, Steve Jobs!
I first had a look at the Apple Mac while at SBP Consultants & Engineers back in 1988. I was pleasantly surprised to find a computer that could do desktop publishing that well! By then, Jobs had gone out of Apple, fired by John Sculley, then Apple’s CEO, sometime in 1985.
Jobs only returned to Apple in 1996, a time when he had floated PIXAR and of course, NeXT — the company that Apple eventually bought and with that, returned Jobs to Apple. The rest, as they say, is history!
First, Jobs, and of course, Apple, brought color to computers, when the iMac line was launched. I remember seeing the entire line in Hong Kong! The iMacs were followed by the ‘now very well known’ iBook!
Next, Jobs focused on the music industry, and that led to the creation of the revolutionary iPod, as well as the Apple Store. I remember several suppliers in Hong Kong and China telling me that they were grateful to Apple for ‘rewriting the musical devices history’ with the iPod. Those suppliers were very much in business, and continue to remain so, till today.
And then, the iPhone happened in 2007! The iPhone 4S, launched yesterday, serves as a reminder of Jobs’ vision and strategy. The iPhone caught everyone in the telecom industry napping! Suddenly, there was a rush to produce iPhone clones or iPhone-like phones. Of course, this also hit a major telecom player in a big way!
Today, smartphones are all the rage! But, believe it or not, no one, yes, no one, has actually come close to what Apple and Steve Jobs have managed to do with the iPhone.
The revolutionary iPad, which hit the streets in 2010, literally gave a new lease of life to computing! It also opened a new section – tablets – in front of the computing world. Today, all of the tablets that you get to see from numerous players is only because of Jobs’ and Apple’s magnificient vision!
This August, Jobs stepped down as Apple’s CEO. Who knew that he would pass away to eternity in early October? There is a message on Apple’s site, which I am pasting here:
“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”
Solar photovoltaics (PV) constantly reminds me of the early days of the telecom industry. Perhaps, the similarity lies in practically anyone and everyone wants to enter the solar/PV industry as well, just like it happened in telecom — before the industry consolidation started to happen.
In India, a lot more talk has happened since the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JN-NSM) was unveiled. With 2010 now drawing to an end, here’s presenting the top posts for solar PV from the year that is about to leave all of us!
Want to enter solar off-grid business? Build your own solar LED lanterns and emergency lights! — This was a smashing superhit! So many folks have accessed this post and quite a few commented! Definitely, my no. 1 post for the year and among my top 10 posts for 2010!
India to miss NSM target? No, it’s likely a mistake (in reporting)! – The faux pas of the year!
SEMI India benchmarks India’s NSM on global FIT best practices — Goes on to show why SEMI continues to be a top notch industry association!
RoseStreet Labs develops breakthrough multiband solar cell technology! — I enjoyed writing this post a lot!
Solar PV heats up in India — NVVN signs MoU with 16 developers; new guidelines for solar projects — First clear signs that India is indeed hot, as a solar market.
Bluetooth set as short range wireless standard for smart energy! — This should be interesting, as and when it happens!
There’s more to come in the new year, now that NVVN has released a list of projects under the JN-NSM. I am more keen to see how JN-NSM takes off in the new year, and am sure, so are you!
Here’s wishing everyone a very happy, joyous and prosperous 2011!
STMicroelectronics has unveiled its roadmap for ARM Cortex-M4 and -M0 with products sampling from mid 2011 onward and production by end of 2011. It has also unleashed the full performance of the Cortex-M3 with its latest STM32 F-2 series.
According to Vinay Thapliyal, technical marketing manager, MCU, STMicroelectronics, India, there are over 30 new part numbers, pin-to-pin and software compatible with existing STM32 devices.
He said: “Today, we already have 110 parts running for the F-1 series, which is currently existing and in full production. Now, we are extending the family. This time, we have launched the F-2 family — the highest performance family — to unleash the ultimate performance of Cortex-M3.” Naturally, the F-2 series is benefiting the existing F-1 devices.
As mentioned, 30 new devices will be launched. They are already ramping now. “All of these belong to the high-performance, low-power family. We will also be revealing our roadmap for M4 and M0 — to be in production by end of 2011, with sampling by middle of 2011.”
ST’s F-2 series will further enhance real time preformance. Thapliyal added that ST has built in ART accelerator into these devices. This will deliver 150 DMIPS (Dhrystone MIPS) at 120MHz.
The adaptive real-time memory accelerator unleashes the Cortex-M3 core’s maximum processing performance equivalent to 0-wait state execution Flash up to 120 MHz.
The ART accelerator is a pre-fetch queue and branch cache mechanism that stores the first instructions and constants of the branches, interrupt and subroutine calls. The penalty occurs the first time those events occur like for any pipelining mechanism.
After that, the instructions stored in cache are pushed immediately in the pref-etch queue upon recognition of a stored branch address. In addition, the embedded Flash is organized in 128-bit rows, allowing up to 8 (16-bit) instructions to be read per access. Read more…
Why exactly do (or did) you choose to become an entrepreneur? Do you have a brilliant product idea? Do you see a large unmet opportunity for your idea?
Or, did you leave your job and become an entrepreneur as you either hated your boss or job? Did you think it is fashionable to be on your own? Did you think you could become a ‘trend setter’? Will a VC fund that great idea of yours? Is that idea going to be sustainable in the long run? Well, the reason could just about be anything!
Rajesh Subramaniam of Walden India Advisors Pvt Ltd presented an interesting talk on ‘What does it take to be an entrepreneur’ during the CDNLive India University conference — apparently aimed at the several students among the audience.
Ideation and execution
The first thing as an entrepreneur is to have clear ideation and execution. Ideation and a clear path to execution are the most important attributes to get you started. The idea should be conceived from a real gap that exists in the system, and not what you perceive it to be! Also, it is advised that you always stay with demand, not supply.
Subramanian advised budding entrepreneurs to talk to as many people to see validity of your hypothesis. If you cannot sell your product, then nobody can. Also, if it is not scalable, it is not going to get out of your garage.
Also, you are not going to cut much ice in case you turn out to be a ‘me-too’ company. Always look for that differentiator! Finally, God is in execution — as they say: “In God we trust, the rest we check.” Read more…
Recently, I had the pleasure of interacting with Nataraj Kumar, director, Consumer Lifestyle, Philips Innovation Campus (PIC), where we discussed things such as Philips technology in interoperability, and the role of this technology in the Philips development ecosystem.
Content sharing platform and consumer behaviour are two key areas of focus for the Dutch electronics giant, Philips. As you know, connectivity and interoperability, as well as certification, play key roles in the overall make up of CE devices as well. To ensure that all devices work smoothly, consumer electronics manufacturers have to be very careful regarding testing and interoperability issues.
Last month, Philips had organized the Philips Connectivity Plugfest-02 at the Philips Innovation Campus in Bangalore, India. It attracted 31 companies who showcased 90 devices focusing on connectivity technologies — HDMI, USB, Bluetooth and DLNA.
As you can see, the focus was on content sharing over multiple devices — all of whom need to operate and function in unison — and that’s where the interoperability factor comes in!
In fact, more than 70 percent of the companies participating in the Plugfest-02 focused on HDMI. According to Nataraj Kumar, there were 42 products related to HDMI, while there were 23 products focused on USB. Bluetooth had 17 products and there were four related to DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance).
In contrast, the Philips Connectivity Plugfest-01, held in June 2009 at the same venue, had attracted 15 companies who showcased 40 devices focusing on technologies such as Bluetooth, HDMI and DLNA!
Strong current focus on HDMI
As per Nataraj Kumar, HDMI 1.4 supports the audio return channel, provides 3D support, as well as an HDMI Ethernet channel.
Elaborating on the Plugfest-02, he said that there were a range of CE devices, such as TV sets, graphic cards, active HDMI cables, control boxes, products that get into DVD players, etc.
He said: “We made a matrix of every company, and presented each company 45 minutes. Within that period, each company had to pick up its product — or source — and carry it to a synchronization device, which receives and displays data. Then they evaluated a variety of test cases that were already pre-defined by Philips.”
Most of the participating companies at Plugfest-02 were able to test successfully for interoperability and perhaps, also identify problems that could be later resolved.
Just how well is Philips geared up for HDMI is visible from its well equipped Interoperability and Certification Center (ICC) lab (sorry folks, no pictures).
The Philips’ ICC lab has the facility to handle HDMI 1.4 compliance testing. It also offers HDMI 1,4 CEC compliance testing, HDMI HDCP compliance testing, and HDMI and HDMI CEC interoperability testing.
The ICC lab offers interoperability testing with CE devices for Bluetooth, as well as Bluetooth profile testing. For USB, it offers USB interoperability testing, while for DLNA, it offers DLNA interoperability testing for 1.0 and 1.5, respectively. The lab offers RF4CE (radio frequency for consumer electronics) interoperability testing as well.
Now, I couldn’t find any company showcasing WHDI (wireless home digital interface) capabilities. Perhaps, the technology is still very new! And what about Philips’ interest in this technology?
On inquiring, Nataraj Kumar said that Philips is exploring opportunities as to what the WHDI standard can do for home entertainment. Should Philips participate in this specification, it would possibly look into WHDI’s standardization process as well. Read more…
April set the ball rolling for a blockbuster second quarter making what will now be five successive quarters of growth. Our 3 percent Q2 growth forecast looks increasingly timid, with 6-8 percent more likely. Virtually all forecasters are now pitching 2010’s growth at the 30 percent level, so there is little left to argue about other than guessing the exact final number.
Whether the ‘final’ number is 28 or 38 percent really makes no odds; it is the underlying trend that counts, something we forecast correctly over 18 months ago.
The real issue now is “What about 2011?” We are clearly now in a boom and the next phase is bust, but when, how deep and how fast will it collapse? We are currently reappraising this and our 2011 forecast, with the analyses to be presented at our forthcoming IFS2011 Mid-Term International Forecast Seminar in London on 20th July.
Forget all of the intellectual arguments about expanded geographical customer base, broader application range and the smoothing effects these would have, all that is hogwash. The industry boom-bust cycles persist and will continue to do so all the while demand dynamics are measured in weeks and the supply-side in quarters making it impossible to ever balance supply and demand.
At this point it is pertinent to revive a slide I first presented at the IEEE meeting in Boston in 1975. This slide is as valid today as it was 35 years ago.
After four quarters of growth, the industry now finds itself in the full flood of a classic market boom. Order books are full, customers are building stocks, double ordering is rife, capacity is strained, lead times increasing and deliveries are stretched.
Inventory replenishment started in Q2-2009, due to the severe inventory overdepletion in Q4-2008/Q1-2009, and was over by Q4-2009 to be replaced by inventory building in 1H-2010, driven by lead-time extension. Typically every week of extra lead-time adds at least half a week to WIP.
Double, even triple, ordering (due to supply shortages) only really started in 1H-2010 and is definitely getting worse, but double ordering is NOT double shipping, yet. For that to happen, supply needs to catch up with demand. That leaves just one item missing from the 1975 list … ‘prices stabilise’, the worldwide semiconductor and IC ASP trends. Read more…
Friends, as we near the end of 2009 — a tumultuous year indeed, by all counts — it is time to take a look at what was the best and the worst during the year in electronics, telecom and technology! Presenting my list of top posts for the year — from these three industry segments.
Can Indian companies build $50 netbooks for Indian consumers?
What WHDI 1.0 can do for consumer electronics!
Has India done enough in the past to boost electronics hardware manufacturing?
Top 10 technology predictions for 2009: Deloitte
Get ready for Webdesign International Festival (WIF) 2010!
Pretty ordinary bloggers survey leaves several unanswered questions!
SAP World Tour ‘09: Heralding a “Clear Enterprise”
Top 5 high growth markets driving (semicon?) recovery, and top 10 hot and emerging technology platforms
Top trends in cyber crimes you need to watch out for!
D-day’s here for TD-SCDMA! Take a bow!!
Top 10 telecom predictions for 2009: Deloitte
Telecom enhances globalization in every possible way!
Top 10 telecom trends for 2009 — more of the same!
Aquilonis helps you sync critical data on real time basis
Top 10 telecom predictions for 2010!
Yes, I know I may have missed some posts, which you felt were good enough. In that case, do let me know.
Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2010!