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Imperas and Industry Articles

High-quality and efficient verification requires a focus on details.

Semiconductor Engineering

 

Verification is undergoing fundamental change as chips become increasingly complex, heterogeneous, and integrated into larger systems.

Tools, methodologies, and the mindset of verification engineers themselves are all shifting to adapt to these new designs, although with so many moving pieces this isn’t always so easy to comprehend. Ferreting out bugs in a design now requires a multi-…

Using SoC methodologies for RISC-V processor DV.

The Lost Art of Processor Verification

 

As we celebrate over 50 years of microprocessors, the industry has embraced every generation of silicon process technology with architectural innovation plus new design methods that have supported innovations in almost every market segment. The interest around RISC-V is opening up increased activity around new approaches to optimize designs for the next generation of devices across multiple…

The semiconductor industry will look and behave differently this year, and not just because of the pandemic.

Semiconductor Engineering

 

The new year will be one of significant transition and innovation for the chip industry, but there are so many new applications and market segments that broad generalizations are becoming less meaningful. Unlike in years past, where sales of computers or smart phones were a good indication of how the chip industry would fare, end markets have both multiplied and…

Complexity is making this process more difficult, but new and better approaches are being developed.

Semiconductor Engineering

 

The proliferation and expansion of multicore architectures is making debug much more difficult and time-consuming, which in turn is increasing demand for more comprehensive system-level tools and approaches.
Multicore/multiprocessor designs are the most complex devices to debug. More interactions and interdependencies between cores mean…

The role of engineers is changing, and they need to be picking up new skills if they are to remain valuable team players. There are several directions they could go in.

Semiconductor Engineering

 

Engineering has one constant — you innovate or fall by the wayside. That is true both for the things that are designed and for the engineers who design and build them. Today’s systems are putting new strains on engineers who can no longer be “tall and thin” or “short and fat.” Those descriptions…

Continuous design innovation adds to verification complexity, and pushes more companies to actually do it.

Semiconductor Engineering

 

The RISC-V ecosystem is struggling to keep pace with rapid innovation and customization, which is increasing the amount of verification work required for each design and spreading that work out across more engineers at more companies.

The historical assumption is that verification represents 60% to 80% or more of SoC project effort in…

Uses, challenges and tradeoffs in working with vector engines.

Semiconductor Engineering

 

A search is underway across the industry to find the best way to speed up machine learning applications, and optimizing hardware for vector instructions is gaining traction as a key element in that effort.
Vector instructions are a class of instructions that enable parallel processing of data sets. An entire array of integers or floating point numbers is processed in a single…

The art of ISA design is the fine balance between gaining performance advantages and enhanced usability

Design & Reuse

The topic of RISC-V custom instructions is growing in importance. This article explains why this subject is becoming so significant, and outlines some of the previous approaches to processor hardware and software optimization to illustrate the techniques that are now possible with RISC-V.…

Simulation is no longer up to the task of system-level verification, but making the switch to hardware-assisted verification can lead to some surprises if you do not fully plan ahead.

Semiconductor Engineering

 

Emulation is emerging as the tool of choice for complex and large designs, but companies that swap from simulation to emulation increasingly recognize this is not an easy transition. It requires money, time, and effort, and even then not everyone gets it right.…