FPGAs serve highly diverse applications. Tailored devices are serving diverging market needs. According to Vince Hu, VP Product & Corporate Marketing, Altera Corp., next-generation portfolio involves an ideal mix of process technologies.
There is greater diversity and capabilities for the broadest range of applications. Finally, Altera has added the 55nm EmbFlash that extends Altera’s tailored approach. Hu was speaking at the 13th Globalpress Electronics Summit being held in Santa Cruz, USA.
Addressing needs of higher-volume systems is key. Industrial and automotive systems tend to be cost sensitive, low power and limited in broad areas. There is an increased pressure to innovate leading to a strong demand for programmable solutions with enhanced features. Altera is expanding the capabilities of non-volatile programmable logic devices (PLDs).
Altera is also bolstering high-volume system solutions. TSMC leading-edge embedded flash technology is a device tailored for high-volume applications. It adds more functionality to non-volatile PLDs. It also re-inforces Altera’s commitment to high-volume applications.
In addressing power/performance challenges, 20SoC is said to be the quickest path to next-generation process. It is tailored for a range of performance and bandwidth-critical applications. There is up to 60 percent lower power vs. 28nm. One of the latest results with 20SoC process is the first 32Gbps transceivers that are operating in 20nm silicon.
Currently, high-end applications are pushing the envelope. Intel’s 14nm tri-gate is said to be a game changer for FPGAs. Tri-gate
surrounds channel on the three sides. It increases channel performance and reduces power. Tri-gate is a proven, second- generation technology. The 14nm tri-gate maintains the Moore’s Law.
Driving toward 400G OTN systems
Altera has acquired OTN IP provider TPACK. It accelerates the company’s OTN roadmap and builds on the Avalon acquisition in 2010. OTN IP, combined with high-performance silicon, positions Altera for continued growth in the high-end networking market.
Tailored devices are now serving diverging market needs. It is an extension of Altera’s tailored approach. There are even greater diversity and capabilities, serving the broadest range of applications. A mixture of application-specific IP provides even greater tailored solutions. Altera is mixing the advanced FinFET process, traditional HKMG planar process and embedded flash technology.
At the ISA CXO Conclave, Matt Grob, SVP, corporate R&D, Qualcomm, said that the company is a world leader in next-generation mobile technologies. It is celebrating 25 years of driving the evolution of wireless communications. It is making wireless more personal, affordable and accessible to people everywhere. Qualcomm is also the world’s largest fabless semiconductor company, #1 in wireless, and #9 in semiconductors.
Qualcomm’s unique business model is to be a technology enabler for the entire mobile value chain. It has continued strategic R&D investments, totalling more than $15.4 billion in 2010.
The 2G to 3G migration is currently taking place, with over 3.1 billion 3G subscriptions likely in 2015. As for the emerging region growth, China leads with 640 percent, followed by Latin America at 465 percent and India at 168 percent, respectively.
Qualcomm is also said to be enabling the mobile broadband in India with 3G and LTE. Besides growing the LTE TDD ecosystem in region, it is building partnerships for long-term strategy and establishing 3G/LTE as best technology path for operators. Qualcomm is also driving the device evolution and growing the market by creating more choices for operators and consumers. It is developing low-cost 3G handsets for emerging markets using 1+ GHz mobile processors and supporting multiple popular OS.
The smartphone industry momentum has ensured that the ecosystem is benefitting from and driving growth. There has been as much as >25 percent YoY data revenue growth from leading operators. OEMs have launched 100+ new smartphones in the first half of CY 2010. The total mobile apps downloads from developers is likely to move up from 7 billion in 2009 to 50 billion by 2012.
As a follow-on to his April 2010 global semiconductor forecast numbers, Mike Cowan constructed (and updated) a table (sourced from the GSA website in order to compare the latest 2010 sales growth forecasts from a large number of leading market researchers to his latest sales growth forecast estimate of 33.4 percent.
Notice that for the thirteen (13) yellow-highlighted market researchers shown in the attached table (including mine), 12 of the market watchers have increased their most recent forecast year-over-year sales growths to a range of 22.6 percent to 33.4 percent with a mean sales growth forecast of 28.7 percent (28.4 percent without Cowan’s forecast number).
As revealed in the table, Cowan’s most recent 2010 sales growth forecast estimate is the most bullish of the bunch (at least for this month; stay tuned for my monthly forecast numbers as the year plays out!).
Also note that the just published (last week – June 8 and 10, respectively), WSTS and SIA Spring 2010 forecast sales growth results for 2010 are included in the table.
SEMI, USA recently hosted the seminar on ‘Convergence of PV Materials, Test and Reliability: What Really Matters?
Reliability in growing PV industry
Speaking on the importance of reliability to a growing PV industry, Sarah Kurtz, principal scientist, Reliability group manager, NREL, said that confidence in long-term performance is a necessity in the PV industry. Current failure rates are low. There is need to demonstrate confidence so that failure rates will stay low. There has been exponential growth of the PV industry so far. PV is a significant fraction of new installations. It now represents a significant fraction of new electricity generating installations of all kinds.
How does one predict the lifetime of PV modules? There has been a qualification test evolution for JPL block buys. Most studies of c-Si modules show module failures are small. Internal electrical current issues often dominate.
The vast majority of installations show very low PV module failure rates (often less than 0.1 percent). There has been evidence that PV is low risk compared to other investments. To sustain the current installation rate, we need to demonstrate confidence that justifies the annual investment of $100 million or so.
Critical factors in economic viability of PV
DuPont has broad capabilities under one roof. It offers materials, solar cell design, and processes integrated with panel engineering. Speaking about Critical factors in economic viability of PV – materials matter – Conrad Burke, global marketing director, DuPont PV Solutions, said that material suppliers have a distinct advantage to view trends. The industry can expect consolidation among large PV module producers and large materials suppliers.
There is an increasing dependence on materials suppliers for processes, tech support and roadmap. There is renewed attention to long-term reliability and quality of materials in PV products.
There is a race for survival among panel producers. There are dropping prices for solar panels, and quality is getting compromised. There are reduced incentives in established markets. The market will continue to grow. Key factors that determine investment return for PV include lifetime, efficiency and cost.
When materials fail, the consequences are dire. There are failures such as encapsulant discoloration, backsheet failure, glass delamination, etc. Average defect rates in new-build modules has been increasing. Significant number of PV installations do not deliver the projected RoI. The system lifetime is as important as cost and incentives.
Solar cell power continues to improve. There have been improvements from metal pastes and processes. Performance loss impacts the RoI. The US Department of Energy hired JPL to develop 30-year PV modules. Recent cost pressures have led to the dramatic changes in module materials and a lack of transparency.
Analyzing modules from the recent service environments show performance issues. Certification does not mitigate risk. Tests do not predict the actual field performance. He showed tier-1 solar panel manufacturing problems from China, Japan and the USA. Backsheet is critical to protect solar panels. Few materials have lengthy field experience. We will continue to see drop in prices for solar panels and opening of new markets. Focus for PV module makers will remain efficiency, etc.
Algorithm-to-chips is Algotochip’s mission. It turns algorithms into chips by converting your behavioral algorithm C-code into architecture C-code into RTL into GDS-II.
Speaking about architecture evolution at the 13th Global Electronics Summit at Santa Cruz, USA, Satish Padmanabhan, CTO and founder, Algotochip, said that the interconnect between CPU and all the HA blocks needs to be determined.
The market approach includes building an ecosystem with leading IP providers in targeted markets. Some areas Algotochip is looking at are LTE and smart grid markets.
Nitto Denko is committed to support Algotochip moving forward. Year 2013 will see significant investment increases in terms of engineering resources, as well as sales and marketing organization to cover USA, China and Japan.
Algotochip is showing that its technology is sound in improving system hardware and software partitioning and first time right design. The LTE turbo decoder performances in terms of throughput, power and gates count is showing the benefits of Algotochip BlueBox. The company is now building an ecosystem around its technology.
ARM Holdings and Tensilica are the first of the few partners that Algotochip wants to collaborate with to improve the overall time-to-market of digital design of the SoC, ASIC and FPGA, etc.
Today, the challenge is all about abstraction and putting automation around it. Productivity is automation and abstraction. Tom Feist, senior marketing director, Design Methodology Marketing, Xilinx said that the company’s strategy has been about All Programmable abstractions. He was speaking at the ongoing 13th Global Electronics Summit being held in Santa Cruz, USA.
Today’s hardware design abstractions include accelerated time to integration, abstracting hardware. For IP abstractions, Xilinx has introduced the IP integrator. It enables IP re-use and time to integration. The Vivado uses multiple plug-and-play IP. Vivado IP integrator is co-optimized for platforms and for silicon, respectively.
Vivado IP integrator has features such as correct-by-construction and automated IP systems. Vivado high-level synthesis allows C/C++ abstractions. Xilinx introduced the OpenCV library, accelerating smarter vision. It supports frame-level processing library for PS. It also supports pixel processing interfaces and basic functions for analytics.
Mathworks has model based abstraction. The automatic C and HDL code generation is supported from the same algorithmic level.
Hardware/software partitioning is supported for Zynq-7000 AP SoCs. There are comprehensive video, motor control and signal processing IP libraries. There are automated workflows targeting Xilinx platforms.
Xilinx is also working with National Instruments. The automated C and HDL code generation is from the same graphical syntax in the LabVIEW IDE. It automatically generates a hardware implementation to meet requirements, abstracting Xilinx tool flow. There is a comprehensive software, hardware and I/O platform for creating control and monitoring systems.
Abstraction evolution has evolved to system level abstraction. It is abstracting all hardware through an increasing layer of automation.
All Programmable realization empowers software and systems engineers. There is a common compilation environment for heterogenous systems. It consumes C, C++ or OpenCL and libraries with user directives. There is automated flow — the user determines the program modules that run on various components.
The Vivado Design Suite 2013 abstractions with IP based design, C, C++, SystemC and OpenCV is new. Mathworks and National Instruments system level design abstractions with new levels of automation is emerging. Xilinx’s vision has been to empower the software and systems engineers by extending abstractions and automation.
Brocade has announced its HyperEdge architecture, a unified wired and wireless infrastructure, it claims is as dynamic as its users.
Edgar Dias, regional director and country manager, India, said that mobility Is redefining how we access information and connect to each other. By 2020, there are likely to be over 30 billion connected things, with over 200 billion with intermittent connections.
The number of wireless devices connecting to the corporate network has been exploding. It is estimated that by 2016, two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone, and 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile.
Healthcare revolutionized by mobility. About 80 percent of remote patient monitoring will be by mobile devices by 2016. Education engages with wireless devices as well, with universities projected to spend more than $837 million on WiFi access points and controllers in 2013. About 22 percent of pupil-facing computers will be tablets by 2015.
The three things required from a campus network solution include reduced complexity, integrated wired and wireless, and investment protection. Mobility changes the game for all organizations and their IT departments. The campus network takes center stage in staying competitive.
Brocade’s HyperEdge architecture is agile, as there are collapsed network layers with active links and intelligent wireless AP traffic management for mobile users. It is also automated, simplified with reduced management touch points, and self discovery and configuration of wired and wireless devices. Lower cost of acquisition and operation makes it cost effective.
HyperEdge innovation radically simplifies management, and improves performance. Distributed services such as advanced features and capabilities are propagated across premium and entry level switches. Consolidated management leads to shared switch configuration and network policies, automated management and software updates.
There are active-active links that eliminates STP to improve efficiency and performance. Multichannel trunking is available to scale and interconnect. Distributed AP forwarding leads to intelligent access points route traffic locally to avoid controller bottlenecks. There is the centralized AP management, where controller based management keeps costs low and coverage levels high. Lastly, there are self-healing access points that automatically adjust to maintain coverage in the event of an access point failure.
The insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) is a three-terminal power semiconductor device. The main trends impacting IGBT include the power stack trend, revolution of Chinese IGBT, growth of IGBT use in consumer applications, and competition from SiC and GaN based devices, respectively.
According to Alexander Avron, Yole Developpement, current density of the IGBT has been multiplied by 3.5 in 20 years. IGBT technology is now very mature, using trenches and thin wafer. Wafer size for IGBT production is still growing and Infineon is currently the leader.
Infineon expects a cost advantage of 20-30 percent by increasing the wafer size from 8- to 12-inches. For Infineon, the 12-inch production line is for MOSFETSs, and they will probably produce IGBT 600V on thin wafer. Fairchild and IR prefer to remain at 8-inch.
A new generation release is always a low voltage product (600-900V). Main improvements have been in losses reduction. In the IGBT supply chain, vertically integrated companies are Japanese only, besides a few, like ABB. Only a few companies, like Danfoss, take advantage of doing module and inverter for motor drives. In a cost-driven market, there is not much competitive advantage in developing own module.
Trends impacting IGBT
Power stack trend - The need for more modularity and higher performance made components makers (active and passive) to join and create consortiums or JVs. It is trending toward more integration.
Revolution of the Chinese IGBT - First Chinese companies are starting to manufacture IGBTs using standard technology and low cost, perfect for a local market. Asian players are becoming a greater part of the IGBT market. While they do not make a lot of devices as yet, it is expected that they will quickly gain market shares in low cost local businesses.
Some new entrants include CSMC, Hua-Hong NEC, PSMC, BYD, Grace Semiconductor, Alpha & Omega Semiconductor, etc. Many Chinese companies are very close to or already able to manufacture their own IGBTs. This will grow and create a Chinese IGBT.
Growth of IGBT use in consumer applications - IGBTs are becoming more part of the consumer lifestyle. Renewable energies and EV/HEV are good examples. Pioneers of HV IGBT have the best market shares. Margin for HV IGBT modules is high. It is first in the EV/HEV and renewables markets. New markets are targeted by all players.
The ASP evolution of consumer markets has dropped down very fast as compared to the industrial markets. Also, DLB or direct lead bonding is a specific technology from Mitsubishi Electric to produce epoxy molded power modules for hybrid and electric cars. Mass production is targeted for 2013.
Competition from SiC and GaN - Next generation devices are becoming available. They will displace IGBT, but not at all the levels and in all the applications. Characteristics of GaN-based inverters are: they primarily target medium voltage apps (200-600V range). SiC diodes are already in production, mainly coupled with IGBT. Penetration of SiCs in wind turbines will happen later than expected.
As for the 2006-2020 power devices market forecast, Yole expects a more stable growth by 2020. There was an unanticipated slowdown in 2012. The market share in 2011 was Mitsubishi 27 percent, Infineon 23 percent, Fuji Electric 11 percent, etc. The IGBT market share was Infineon 35 percent, Mitsubishi 32 percent, Hitachi 12 percent, ABB 9 percent, respectively.
Yole estimates that at least 15 companies – foundries, fab lights and fabs — are working on IGBT development in China.
PMC-Sierra Inc. has launched the PM5440 DIGI 120G, said to be the industry’s only single-chip OTN processor supporting 10G, 40G and 100G speeds for OTN transport.
Elaborating, Kevin So, senior product line manager, PMC, said: “PMC is the first to integrate support for 12x10G, 3x40G or 1x100G in a single piece of silicon to address OTN transport (point-to-point), OTN aggregation (multiplexing) and OTN switching deployments. For example, with DIGI 120G, an OEM can design a line card on a P-OTP that supports 12x10G supporting per port configurable multi-service like OC-192/STM-64, 10GE, OTU2 or Fiber Channel.”
Using the same chip and same software investment, they can also design a 3x40G card supporting 40GE, OC-768/STM-256 or OTU3. Another card can be designed to support 100GE or OTU4. An OEM can design 10+ cards across multiple platforms leveraging a single R&D investment using DIGI 120G. This also translates into the lowest cost of ownership for the OEMs, while achieving a time to market advantage.
How does OTN allow for flexible aggregation and switching from 1G to 100G? For that matter, what can this device do?
OTN is a defined as a carrier grade protocol to transparently carry and switch and aggregate multi-service traffic including 1GE all the way to 100GE over a WDM. The protocol is an ITU-T standard, and supports ODU0 (which is 1G) to ODU4 (which is 100G). In addition, OTN defines something called ODUflex, which is a flexible container that can be adjusted up and down from 1G to 100G in increments of 1G.
PMC’s DIGI 120G supports all these OTN container rates and enable the ability to multiplex and switch traffic between them. In addition, DIGI 120G provides the ability to scale ODUflex to carry packet traffic ranging from 1G to 100G without service interruption. DIGI 120G is a single chip solution that uniquely enables the transponders, muxponders and line cards on ROADMs and P-OTPs.
What are the innovations done by the PM5440 DIGI 120G? What if there is some new chip coming out?
Reducing line card power and bill-of-material by more than 50 percent, PMC’s DIGI 120G stands uniquely differentiated as:
* Industry’s only single-chip solution delivering 12x10G, 3x40G or 1x100G port densities.
* Industry’s highest number of 10G ports enabling 2x higher density 10G OTN line cards.
* Industry’s highest gain 40G/100G enhanced-FEC extending optical reach by 2x vs GFEC.
* Industry’s only 120G OTN solution with OIF’s OTN-over-Packet Fabric Protocol (OFP).
* First OTN processor to enable hitless packet traffic scaling with ITU-T’s G.hao/G.7044.
* Flexible per port client-mapping of OTN, Ethernet, Storage, IP/MPLS and SONET/SDH.
* Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE), 1588v2 Precision Time Protocol (PTP), and Ethernet Link OAM (802.3ah) delivering per port Carrier Ethernet performance.
To deliver these innovations, PMC integrated well over a billion transistors. The level of silicon integration is unprecedented – requiring engineering capabilities unmatched in the telecom industry. So added that PMC worked closely with tier-1 OEM customers from the start at the requirements phase in order to tailor the solution for their systems. As a result, the DIGI 120G is a key architectural element of their system.
By when does PMC sees enterprises ‘really’ going in for products with PM5440 DIGI 120G, to support Big Data? And, what happens if they still don’t?
So noted: “We have been working with our customers for the last few months developing their line cards using DIGI 120G. We are confident they will take their products using DIGI 120G to production in 2013.”
Does PMC actually see a reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM) revolution?
According to So, a couple of things are happening in the ROADM market. On the photonics side, products are now available to allow service providers to deploy very flexible wavelength switches that are color independent, direction independent, wavelength contention-free and support flexible ITU grid widths.
On the platform architecture side, we are seeing a move away from traditional muxponders and transponders line card architectures where the client ports are fixed to a specific optical uplink port (wavelength). Instead, OEMs want to de-couple the client ports from the uplink optical capacity for great flexibility and in order to achieve better bandwidth utilization especially as the industry starts deploying 100G wavelengths.
Services in the network, especially those from the metro network edge is still largely 1G or 10G rates. To achieve this flexibility, central fabrics are added to the ROADM platform to support OTN switching. PMC’s Metro OTN processor family, including our latest DIGI 120G, enable OEMs to build line cards that can switch OTN and packet simultaneously in these platform architectures.
Finaly, is the bandwidth of common modulation format for 100G and beyond too broad for ROADMs?
Kevin So concluded: “OTN, as a protocol, is designed to scale to beyond 100G. The standard bodies are already working on this now. ROADMs, as a hardware platform will scale, but new components and technologies will likely be needed to take them beyond 100G.”