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Sonics participates in TSMC’s Soft IP Alliance 2.0 beta program

November 30, 2012 2 comments

Milpitas, USA-based Sonics Inc. participated in TSMC’s Soft IP Alliance 2.0 beta program. Driving high quality soft IP eases customer integration and expedites time-to-market.

Sonic’s role in TSMC beta program
Speaking on the beta program and Sonics’ role, Frank Ferro, director of Product Marketing, Sonics, said: “TSMC’s Soft IP kit 2.0 beta program is part of TSMC’s Open Innovation Platform program that creates a complete ecosystem for customers with the overall goal of shortening design time. This is done by providing a large catalog of partner provided IP that is silicon-verified and production-proven.

A complex SoC with Sonics’ SGN on-chip network.

For vendors like Sonics, TSMC has extended this ecosystem to include Soft-IP (IP not designed for a specific process, but delivered as RTL). The program allows Soft-IP partners to access and leverage TSMC’s process technologies to optimize power, performance and area for their IP.

IP cores are checked through TSMC’s foundry checklist to ensure the customers have optimized design results with fast IP integration built into their design. This flow also facilitates easy IP reuse for subsequent designs. The soft IP Kit beta 2.0 program is an extension of the current program through implementing additional quality checks, improving results and making the flow easier for customers.

There are several advantages to Sonics as a participant in this program. First, customers of TSMC will have access to Sonics IP through TSMC’s IP library. Given TSMC’s strong market share, this will allow Sonics IP to be visible to a large customer base. In addition, TSMC’s customers will feel securing using Sonics IP because they know that it has been put through a rigorous series of IP checks that meet the highest quality standards. It also allows Sonics early access to TSMC’s process libraries, allowing Sonics to optimize performance and area for each IP product.

So, what can the TSMC’s Soft IP Kit 2.0 do? How does Sonics enhance its capabilities? The Soft IP Kit 2.0 provides a specific RTL design flow methodology and hand-off which includes: lint (RTL coding consistency), clock domain crossings (CDC), power (CPF/UPF), physical design (routing congestion), design for test (DFT), constraints and documentation.

Using this flow enhances Sonics IP quality and reliability because many RTL errors can be caught at an early stage. As mentioned above, this flow ensures lowest power and best performance of the IP for a given process node.

Atrenta SpyGlass improves packaging
There is a role played by Atrenta SpyGlass. According to Ferro, Atrenta SpyGlass is the tool used to run all the tests. The flow was developed to TSMC’s standards and implemented by Atrenta.  Given Sonics strong relationship with TSMC and Atrenta, we were invited to be a beta partner using our IP to test the new flow. A number of companies do participate in the program, although only Sonics has announced participation in the beta 2.0 program to date.

This tie up with Atrenta will likely improve IP packaging. As part of the overall flow, the final step, after all basic and advanced IP checks, is IP packaging. This step includes providing the IP with information on the design intent, set-up and analysis reports. Again, this is done using the SpyGlass tool from Atrenta.

This IP packaging was available to customers in the past via the Soft IP 1.0 program. The attraction of this type of IP packaging is a result of the growing number of IP cores being integrated into complex SoCs. As the number of third party IP grew, the need for a better, broader methodology was developed.
Read more…

NXP launches CAN partial networking solution for automotives

NXP Semiconductors N.V. has announced the first NWP ISO 11898-6 and AUTOSAR R3.2.1 compliant solution supporting CAN Partial Networking.

The stand-alone TJA1145 CAN transceiver and integrated system basis chip UJA1168 – the world’s first highly integrated solution to support CAN Partial Networking – give design engineers precision control over a vehicle’s bus communication network. By intelligently de-activating electronic control units (ECUs) that are currently not needed, engineers can significantly reduce vehicle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions without sacrificing performance or consumer experience.

Reducing CO2, improving energy efficiency
So, how will the NXP solution reduce CO2 and improve energy efficiency in vehicles? Karsten Penno, business development manager, Business Unit Automotive, NXP, said: “In current CAN networks, all ECUs are always active and consuming power when the vehicle is in use. This is the case even if the applications they control aren’t continuously required, such as seat positioning, sun roof operation, park assistance systems, etc.

“CAN Partial Networking changes this model by activating only those ECUs that are functionally required, while other ECUs remain in a low-power mode until needed. This results in significant savings in power/fuel consumption, reducing costs, wiring and CO2 emissions. CAN Partial Networking is also extremely beneficial for electric and hybrid vehicles as it helps extending their operating range and optimizing charging time. Saving potential: 0.11l fuel savings/100km and 2.6g CO2 reduction/km.”

Why not before?
Now, if the CAN Partial Networking solution is so novel, why wasn’t it thought of before?

Penno said: “Innovations like CAN Partial Networking always require a broad industry acceptance and standardization. The CAN bus system – as key component of in-vehicles networks – has been around for many years (introduced in early ’90s). However, only with the rising awareness on CO2 emissions and overall vehicle efficiency – along with growing CAN node counts – came the need for a more efficient CAN standard. NXP is innovation leader in this area and is chairs the standardizing working group within ISO.” Read more…

Freescale in strategic partnerships with Mentor, Enea and Green Hills

This has been quite an eventful day. Today, Freescale Semiconductor signed strategic partnership agreements with Mentor Graphics, Enea and Green Hills Software to establish comprehensive enablement solutions for Freescale’s QorIQ, PowerQUICC and StarCore processors.

Freescale and its strategic software partners intend to share IP, invest jointly in product and technology roadmaps, and collaborate on go-to-market activities.

According to Raja Tabet, vice president, Software & Systems Organization, Networking & Multimedia Group, Freescale, the company’s strategic alliance with Mentor focuses on enabling highly optimized Linux solutions for PowerQUICC and QorIQ processors. Mentor and Freescale will use a common Linux distribution for PowerQUICC and QorIQ processors.

He said: “Mentor is our strategic partner on Linux, We will be aligning with Mentor around a common Linux development distribution methodology. We will no longer have our own distribution methodolgy. The objective for us is to allow seamless migration for our customers from free Linux to commercially supported Linux.

“With Green Hills — a premier provider of OS and tools –we are making sure that we have a broad support  for our product portfolio. When our products are launched, people will have premium support from our partners such as Green Hills. These are for PowerQUICC and QorIQ processors.

“With Enea, the alliance is on enabling the highly optimized versions of OSE, OSEck, Optima Tools and related software for PowerQUICC and QorIQ processors as well as StarCore DSPs.”

On the timing of these agreements, Tabet said: “We have been working on a model for quite some time. Ths announcrment, we’ve been planning it for a while. We wanted to put our silicon out there and add software system partners. The name of the game was pushing the clock speed. We see move from single to multi-core.

“We need to invest much more heavily among ourselves and our partners. We need different partnership strategies. We need to decide what investment to put into software and what investment into our partners.”

He added: “We have been working on these strategic alliances for quite some time now and as the leader in providing processors into the networking market wanted to lead the way in setting a high bar for silicon-software vendor collaboration for multi-core devices.

“We believe that effective multicore support necessitates deep, collaborative and early investment between silicon vendors and software partners to truly provide an optimized silicon-software experience. Additionally, given the recent consolidation in the industry, we wanted to reaffirm our commitment to enabling a healthy independent ecosystem of partners and help customers maintain a choice of software vendors for our devices.”

Read more…

FPGA and MPU trends: Intelligent mixed-signal FPGA to be part of Xilinx’s TDP strategy

Friends, here is part two of my discussion with Vincent Ratford, senior vice president, worldwide marketing and business development, Xilinx. This post will discuss FPGAs and Xilinx’s estimate of the global FPGA industry, as well as its university development program.

Estimate of global FPGA industry
Ratford said that in 2010, Xilinx sees tremendous growth opportunities for programmable platforms in electronics infrastructure applications, such as wired communications, 3G and LTE wireless deployment — all of which will require high performance DSP processing in excess of 1000 Giga operations per second and packet processing at a rate of more than 100 Gbps.

He added: “Green IT will need power efficient, high performance, compute architectures that will exploit the high level of parallel computing. The smart grid will rely on programmable, flexible appliances and metering. And finally surveillance and security will require sophisticated image processing algorithms. These compute-intensive applications are ideally suited to the performance and flexibility of today’s leading edge FPGAs.

“This trend bodes well for the PLD industry to outperform the overall semiconductor industry over the long term, as the technology ‘most responsive to change’ displaces costly, high-risk application-specific solutions for all but a narrow set of high-volume commodity markets.

Is there still a debate regarding FPGAs vs. ASICs?

As per Ratford, there is no debate! “From our perspective the market has spoken. FPGA design starts are on the rise, as ASIC design starts continue their steep decline. Today, ASICs can only be justified for a short list of ultra-high volume commodity products, such as video games (Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox360), hard drives for PCs, mobile/smartphones, etc.”

The ability to quickly create differentiated products — and the freedom to innovate — is why more and more companies in India and all over the world are choosing FPGAs. Due to their inherent flexibility, Xilinx silicon, software, IP, evaluation kits and reference designs are used by more than 20,000 customers to:
i) get to the market in a matter of weeks;
ii) drastically reduce research and development costs; and
iii) change or upgrade end product features and functions “on the fly” to meet new market demands and adapt to changing industry standards.

On intelligent mixed-signal devices
Early this month, at the Embedded World conference, Actel Corp. had unveiled SmartFusion, the world’s first intelligent mixed signal FPGA. I was keen to find out whether Xilinx has plans for similar devices, or rather, when is its intelligent mixed-signal FPGA planned.

Ratford agreed that introducing analog/mixed signal capabilities in FPGAs is a good idea. “We are looking at ways to provide that in the future, but it needs to be as part of our TDP (Targeted Design Platform) strategy including IP, software, reference designs.” Read more…

ISA Vision Summit 2010: UK intends to be part of India’s growing electronics market

February 1, 2010 2 comments

The UK is a country partner with the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) at the ongoing ISA Vision Summit 2010 for the second successive year. Delivering his address during the inaugural function, Richard Hyde, British deputy high commissioner, said: “The UK is partnering this event because we want to be part of the growing electronics market in India. We see the changing ICT landscape. We see the move from low end outsourced services to high value business, driven by innovation.”

Richard Hyde, British deputy high commissioner, delivering his address at ISA Vision Summit 2010 in Bangalore, India.

Richard Hyde, British deputy high commissioner, delivering his address at ISA Vision Summit 2010 in Bangalore, India.

He added: “We have an ongoing and long-term commitment to working with the Indian semiconductor industry. We want to promote growth through partnerships with UK innovation and excellence. The UK and Indian semiconductor industries working together have enormous potential to create a powerful solution for customers in India, the UK and the rest of the world.”

The UK electronics industry is about £25 billion a year. It is made up of more than 11,500 companies employing about 250,000 people. UK is the acknowledged leader in independent systems design with over 40 percent market share.

Hyde presented some examples of UK’s innovative industry, such as CamSemi — a spinoff from Cambridge University, which provides power conversion solutions to make electronics industry ‘greener’; DisplayLink — a pioneer in connecting multiple screens to one PC through USB; and PicoChip — experts in wireless infrastructure and signal processing. Several of UK’s semiconductor companies also have strong presence in Bangalore, India, such as ARM, CSR and Wolfsen.

He said that the UK has a vibrant start-up community that supports strong industry clusters in the South West of England, Central Scotland and Cambridge. Experts from these regions are present at the ISA Vision Summit for discussions.

Hyde added that the UK’s consumer electronics market is the strongest in Europe. Sales of flat panel and LCD TVs hit £8.8 million in 2008. Despite the downturn, there has been further growth in 2009. Blue ray players and HD based technology have continued to grow, and that is important as this technology was developed in the UK. The UK also remains Europe’s largest ICT market with sales of £171 billion per annum with over £20 billion in equipment sales.

Hyde touched upon the SemiConclave workshop organized by the Science and Invvovation Network within the Deputy High Commission team and the ISA in October 2008. One of the outcomes of the event has been that the Bangalore based Center for Emerging Technologies at the Jain University is now working with the Scottish Microelectronics Center on a research project to fabricate MEMS devices.

He added that the ISA is helping UKTI drive its Global Value Chain program. “Our goal is now to encourage and develop more direct business to business interaction. A good example of this is the agreement signed in December between Lord Mandelson and Azim Premji of Wipro, which aims to promote UK/Indian joint work to develop new and innovative low carbon technologies.

“We are looking forward to the next stage of development of this important relationship, in particular, the promotion of the UK Core Initiative Group. We aim to have increasing representation from each other’s industries at each other’s events, including the ISA session on Innovation Ecosystems. And we want increasing number of companies working together and develop partnerships.”

He concluded that this indeed is an exciting area and an exciting time for the semiconductor industry. Delegates at ISA Vision Summit 2010 can look forward to meeting leading UK companies, such as the TTP Group, PowerOasis, Advanced Hall Sensors and the Scottish Microelectronics Center.

STMicro on corporate responsibility — Part 2

August 16, 2009 Comments off

Friends, here’s the second and concluding part of my discussion with Vivek Sharma, Director, India Design Center, and Vice President, Emerging Market Regions, STMicroelectronics.

Here, we have discussed how the company’s corporate social responsibility has helped ST reduce greenhouse gases/reducing carbon footprint/CO2 emissions, handling e-waste and chemicals, and the company’s success in developing ‘greener and cleaner’ supply chains.

Reducing greenhouse gases, etc.
First, How has this initiative helped reduce greenhouse gases/reducing carbon footprint/CO2 emissions?

Sharma said: “This Initiative has helped us in reducing greenhouse gases/ reducing carbon foot print/CO2 emissions. Although the semiconductor industry makes a relatively small contribution to climate change compared to many other industries, ST integrated a formal, structured approach to reducing its environmental footprint in the early 1990s.

“Working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) at that time helped us to define the areas for action and improvement relating to CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases (GHG); we called the resulting 10-part plan our ‘Environmental Decalogue’.

“Some of the key strategies are constant dedication to reducing our own environmental impact by reducing our consumption of resources such as energy and water and our net emissions of greenhouse gases, working with our suppliers and other stakeholders to share our vast experience and encourage best practices, developing advanced devices that minimize the power consumed in electronic equipment.

“Power-conscious design has two aspects: reduction of energy consumption in the chip itself and contribution to energy saving in the end application, such as home appliances or lighting.” Read more…

STMicroelectronics on corporate responsibility — part 1

August 16, 2009 Comments off

STMicroelectronics recently launched its Corporate Social Responsibility Report — said to be the first of its kind. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Vivek Sharma, Director, India Design Center, and Vice President, Emerging Market Regions, and find out more about this report. Here’s what he had to say:

ST’s concept of sustainable excellence
Corporate Social Responsibility has been the core belief for STMicroelectronics since its inception. In fact, STMicroelectronics is one of the first global industrial companies to recognize the importance of environmental responsibility and has won many awards for its pioneering work in this field.

The Company played a leading role in demonstrating that ‘Green is Black’ i.e. that environmental responsibility delivers real financial benefits and these goals are not in contradiction to each other. For building a culture on this core belief, all levels in an organization have not only to be involved, but also to ensure their commitment as well.

This was given a communicatble & practical shape when corporation adopted TQM principles in early nineties and its concepts, processes and practices were cascaded to all levels of whole enterprise. Soon after, company published its first ‘Environmental Decalogue’ in 1994 followed by another wave of TQEM.

In this journey, the company has continually widened the scope of its definition of corporate responsibility and increasingly formalized both the deployment of its principles within the company and the reporting of the results to stakeholders to ensure that it remains at the forefront of Corporate Responsibility.

ST’s Sustainable Excellence program was launched in 2007 to revamp the same core belief and to embed Corporate Responsibility into every level of the Company’s activities. The term reflects ST’s firm belief in its ability to balance stakeholders’ expectations to make the Company ‘sustainable’ – successful now and in the future – in the short and long term and enable it to contribute to sustainable development at a global level. This progam is based on three key principals i.e. Integrity, People and Excellence which captures the essence of it.

Why such a report now?
What’s the need for such a report at this point of time? That’s the obvious question!

Sharma said: “It is an annual report through which we intend to give an overview of our Corporate Responsibility strategy, our achievements at company and local levels and a description of the challenges we face in all areas of corporate responsibility such as environment, employee well-being, community involvement, and product responsibility while also demonstrating strong performance in aspects that are becoming increasingly important to stakeholders. This is a testimony to our commitment to CSR and it reports the progress track record on various fronts, hence demonstrating our accountability. Read more…

How semicon firms can achieve high performance — Part II

May 6, 2009 Comments off

Friends, as promised, here is the second part of the discussion I had with Accenture’s Scott Grant, based on Accenture’s recent study: Managing Through Challenging Times!

4. Reducing the time to cash for new products.
When companies industrialize the market concept, and they procure design win opportunities, we tend to see critical components involved with this: a) maintaining relationships of requirements from market analysis through final manufacturing build plan; b) leaders who use consistent lifecycle management of a product development flow; and c) IP management with integrated roadmap portfolio capabilities.

“Firms at times are not able to convert concepts to cash quickly. The process to integrate them has several gaps including innovation lifecycles, conversion of R&D concepts to volume products, and ability to optimize the engineering capacity constraints within their P&Ls.”

Product lifecycle management, portfolio & market analytics, and engineer skills/human resource management help to address these gaps. Portfolio management and roadmap planning process are a must. When done, semiconductor companies will be able to map quickly with the customers and the market insights.

5. Sharpening customer focus through more in-depth and accurate customer insight.
Most firms won’t survive if they are unable to gain rapid adoption of their product offering. From our experience, high performing companies build detailed customer usage-models and insight into end-device markets early in their R&D process.

The challenge many find is that without this baseline of understanding it is difficult to convert concepts into cash once the end-product is delivered to the market.

Many of the insights are available from Point of Sale trends, which can help a semicon firm exist at either an OEM (PC, handset, etc.) or distributor. High performers have enhanced the relationship with their work collaborators and customers to gain access to this data. They also build a “Trusted Advisor” relationship where they build scenarios for each end market to better predict what their end-customer may desire in features or functions.

It is difficult for a semicon firm to know how a product will be used. It is really the beginning of gaining insight into utilization, the consumer, and what usage model should be employed. So a semicon firm should study carefully how things can be used in the market. User behavior is crucial. If companies don’t understand that, they may be missing out.

6. Pursuing alliances to share the cost burden of new product development.
The point here is to make sure that semiconductor companies are taking a strategic view and look at the right places to pursue alliances. There’s a lot of impact in pursuing alliances. When semicon companies do this, they can absolutely share the burdens, but it can impact the operating model.

Other recommendations for the industry
What are the other recommendations that Accenture have for the semiconductor industry going forward?

Grant recommends the industry to focus on achieving high performance business results. Those include sustained leadership in various financial metrics such as return to shareholders, profits, and revenue growth.

“Recognize and adapt to the reality that we are now living in a multi-polar world. This is a world in which a growing number of emerging countries and economies are becoming more financially powerful, competitive and relevant in competing against the traditionally more developed parts of the world such as North America, Asia and Europe. This means there are a multitude of growing business opportunities in these emerging nations for semiconductor companies to capitalize on.

“Proactively invest during a recession rather than pull back investments and just wait until the economy pulls out of this down cycle. History has shown that those companies that invest the most perform better in the years after the market recovers.”

Companies repeating mistakes?
Now, these recessions always have a bad habit of occuring cyclically! Therefore, why do semiconductor (and other) companies tend to repeat those same mistakes again and again?

According to Grant, one reason is they tend to indiscriminately and rapidly cut costs without thinking more strategically and carefully about what costs to cut. “They tend to lay off workers who they need when the market recovers, but they can’t hire them back because those employees have moved on with their careers. These semiconductor companies don’t think hard enough about what employees and assets they will need when the market recovers.”

Layoffs? What about design and development?
Finally, are layoffs the only solution to combat recession? What happens to design and development?

Grant agrees that layoffs are absolutely not the only solution to combat recession. Investing in core competencies is crucial, and spending less time and effort on non-core capabilities is important.

“Employee morale tends to fall within design and development during a recession because they see some of their colleagues lose their jobs and they take on more work. And they lose more control of what work they are assigned to do. And they’re less secure about their job security.

“But, much of this can be alleviated by giving employees a chance to share their ideas and concerns at regularly scheduled Town Hall meetings, to communicate with them regularly and candidly, and to focus them on achieving high performance business results.”


Categories: Accenture, Scott Grant

No semicon recovery before mid 2010: Europartners

February 11, 2009 Comments off

Connecting with new friends from all over the world is one of the best things that I have experienced while writing a semicon and electronics blog. One such gentleman is Ingo Guertler from Europartners Consultants. He is based in Munich, Germany — a city I have frequented several times.

Guertler has been part of my LinkedIn network as well. He has spent 30 years in leading positions in the electronic components market, mostly with semiconductors, at General Instrument, QT Optoelectronics and Vishay. Since 2005, he has been the senior partner at Europartners Consultants, a network of independent consultants, mostly located in Europe.

Beside individual projects, Europartners analyze the worldwide distribution market for electronic components each year and publish the results in its Worldwide Distribution Report.

Additionally, the company also organizes a two-day conference in Paris every two years, with high-level speakers out of the electronic component industry, discussing actual topics with top managers from component manufacturer and distributors.

This year, the headline will cover the world economy crisis, its effect on the electronics industry, and how companies can successful manage the crisis.

Naturally, our conversation revolved around the global semiconductor market, the memory market turmoil, and how European companies view the Indian semiconductor industry.

Semicon to decline 20 percent in 2009
Ingo Guertler expects a decrease in the global semiconductors market of approximately a minimum of 20 percent. Europartners does not see a recovery before the middle of 2010.

Guertler said: “Maybe, there can be a light recovery in the second quarter 2010 in some regions. Everything will depend on how fast the funds of the governments to the industry will draw. We have to specifically watch, the American and Chinese markets.”

Regarding the memory market, he added that everybody had expected that Vista will stimulate the markets. However, that did not happen. “For the time being, the industry has no direct killer application for memories available or in the design stage. I expect a further price erosion on memories, especially on DRAMs,” he cautioned.

Europe’s interest in Indian semicon
Again, it was natural for me to query Ingo on how European companies view the Indian semiconductor industry.

According to him, for the time being, collaboration between the European and Indian companies is limited in the most cases, or on a one-way service base, using the excellent skills and resources of the Indian software companies and engineers that also includes EDA. “I don’t think that will change in the near future,” he added.

Guertler said: “Personally, I see India as a new market challenge in the next 10 years or more for the European companies, because the local demand will grow faster in India, than we today see in China. Also, I believe and have seen it already, that a lot of companies will likely shift their production bases from China to India the next time, simply because of lower costs, availability of good, graduate engineers and a more Western orientated politics of the Indian government.”

However there is one handicap for the Indian continent! That is: the current infrastructure and the political situation between India and Pakistan.

According to Guertler, India has to set up huge investment programs to invite more investors in the country. Very importantly, is there any feeling that overseas companies’ interest in India is slowing down?

“Definitely not, as far as the European companies are concerned. If India meets the industry’s requirements, I believe their preference will be for India in comparison to China,” he said.

That indeed, is great to hear! The Indian interest is very much intact, in Europe and elsewhere. Now, it is time for India to get some work started on semiconductor product development companies.

Altera strategy to partner with Indian design services firms

December 7, 2008 Comments off

Turning my attention to the programmable logic market, I took advantage of my recent meeting with Jordan Plofsky, Senior Vice President Market, Altera Corp., during the Altera SOPC conference.

Programmable logic consumption in India has been estimated at between $20-$25 million in 2008, largely driven by strong growth in communications infrastructure and increased spending in the military sector. The Indian programmable logic market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 25 percent over the next three years.

Altera’s India strategy
In this context, it will be interesting to note Altera’s strategy within the Indian semiconductor industry.

Plofsky says that as multinational companies are transferring more design work to their R&D teams in India, local companies are expanding their range of products, and independent design service companies are capturing a bigger piece of the outsourced design pie, Altera forecasts the increased need for high quality application support.

He says: “Unlike other companies who have design services operations in India, which compete with the local independent design services, our strategy is to partner with the local India design services industry. We are expanding our direct and indirect support channels to provide higher quality services to our customers here.”

Altera is also supporting the development of the education sector in India, which is modernizing to turn out well trained engineers to satisfy the appetite of the industry. “We also run industrial workshops and seminars, like the recent SOPC World in Bangalore and New Delhi, to educate the design community on the direction of semiconductor technology,” adds Plofsky.

Altera has also set up Altera Joint Laboratories in leading universities across India to provide a better platform for undergraduates to grasp basics of programmability.

Role in solar?
With investments in solar/PV happening, is there a role for Altera and other FPGA companies? This is a question that I invariably ask everyone in the semiconductor industry!

According to Plofsky, one of the promising applications is smart metering. It is the practice of getting the users and the infrastructure to be power aware and then using different usage patterns to lower energy usage and energy costs by applying smart algorithms.

Addressing low-power design
Power consumption has always been a big concern for designers in all markets and Altera has a number of different solutions.

In the CPLD area, Altera announced its zero power MAX IIZ devices in late 2007. Offering the highest density and I/O count in packages as small as 5x5mm, compared to macrocell-based CPLDs, MAX IIZ devices allow designers to meet changing functional requirements and lower power while saving board space.

Consuming 75 percent less power than competing FPGAs, the Altera Cyclone III devices are the industry’s first and only 65-nm low-cost FPGA family, and offer digital system designers an unprecedented combination of density, power and cost.

To address the low-power demands of high density customers, the Stratix III and Stratix IV family members feature Altera’s patented Programmable Power Technology. This power-saving technology optimizes logic, DSP and memory blocks to maximize performance where needed while delivering the lowest power elsewhere in the design. And in addition these designs can be converted to HardCopy ASIC devices that can reduce power consumption by 50-70 percent.

As for new products in the LTE, TD-SCDMA and NFC spaces, Plofsky says that with the new 40-nm devices, Altera is uniquely positioned to deliver solutions that provide the density, performance and power for these emerging applications. The combination of DSP blocks, memory and transceivers was optimized for these communication applications.

Roadmap beyond
Altera just announced its 40nm devices in May and it is said to be on target to deliver those devices by the end of 2008.

Adds Plofsky: “We have already started development work on smaller process geometries with test chips in fab now, but it is too early to go into any family detail at this time.”

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