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Enabling the RISC-V Ecosystem

Semiconductor Engineering Blog by Tom Anderson, Technical Marketing Consultant, OneSpin

Industry initiatives are critical factors for processor family success.

Earlier this year, OneSpin’s Sven Beyer discussed the emerging RISC-V processor and some of its verification challenges. He stated that “RISC-V is hot and stands at the beginning of what may be a major shift in the industry.” In the few intervening months, it has become even more apparent that RISC-V is fundamentally changing system-on-chip (SoC) development. Dozens of commercial and open-source implementations of processor cores are available, and millions of SoCs have already shipped with embedded RISC-V processors. Two industry groups have been established to promote RISC-V and help grow the ecosystem of hardware, software, tools, and services.

For this post we’re taking a step back from the technical details to discuss these activities and the role that OneSpin is playing.

 

 

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EDA Learns from Experience

By Chris Edwards, New Electronics | Feat. Dominik Strasser, Co-Founder and VP Engineering, OneSpin

Several years ago at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) the talk was of big data.

Chip designers could find rich seams of information and get each successive project completed faster by mining their own database. Such projects looked to be prime candidates because of electronic design automation’s (EDA) ability to generate enormous datasets.

Areas such as physical verification did prove able to play EDA’s version of Moneyball. GlobalFoundries mined its database of layouts to find the pathological cases more or less guaranteed to cause yield failures. With millions of transistors per design and a lot of designs passing through, identifying the trouble spots was not easy but it was achievable. But other areas found the idea of data mining to be more promise than reality.

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Who’s Responsible For Security Breaches? | Experts at the Table, Part 2

By Brian Bailey, Semiconductor Engineering | Feat. David Landoll, Solutions Architect, OneSpin

How are we dealing with security threats, and what happens when it expands to a much wider network?

Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss industry attitudes towards safety and security with Dave Kelf, chief marketing officer for Breker Verification; Jacob Wiltgen, solutions architect for functional safety at Mentor, a Siemens Business; David Landoll, solutions architect for OneSpin Solutions; Dennis Ciplickas, vice president of characterization solutions at PDF Solutions; Andrew Dauman, vice president of engineering for Tortuga Logic; and Mike Bartley, CEO for TV&S. What follows are excerpts of that conversation.

[...]

Landoll: But when you are looking at hardware, there are a finite number of ways. Yes, it is a huge number, but it is finite. You can basically take the RTL, or the gate-level netlist, and you can extract all of the possible ways it can fault. You can analyze every one of them. From a software perspective, you can’t. But at least if you can get a handle on the hardware, then it reduces the chance.

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Lösung zum Sicherstellen der Integrität von RISC-V-Kernen

Fachartikel von Sven Beyer, Tom Anderson | all-electronics.de

Die Offenheit der RISC-V-Instruction-Set-Architektur und ihre mittlerweile weite Adaption machen eine gründliche Überprüfung der Integrität und der Kompabilität der RISC-V-Kerne erforderlich.

Eines der am meisten diskutierten Themen in der Halbleiterindustrie ist heutzutage die RISC-V-Instruction-Set-Architecture (ISA). Auf vielen Konferenzen und in Fachartikeln wurde über RISC-V diskutiert und es ist noch lange kein Ende abzusehen. Auch wenn sich die RISC-V-Architektur noch in der Entwicklung befindet, leitet sie möglicherweise eine revolutionäre Änderung in der Intellectual Property (IP) und Halbleiterindustrie ein. Sie wird von der RISC-V-Foundation definiert als „freie und offene ISA, die durch die Zusammenarbeit mit offenem Standard eine neue Ära der Prozessorinnovation ermöglicht“. Dadurch fordert sie etablierte Prozessorfamilien direkt heraus. Jeder kann RISC-V-Prozessorkerne entwickeln oder in System-on-Chip-Designs (SoC) integrieren. Die Stiftung unterstützt, standardisiert und entwickelt die RISC-V-ISA, ohne dass eine Lizenz erforderlich ist oder Lizenzgebühren erhoben werden.

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Circuit Aging Becoming A Critical Consideration

By Ann Steffora Mutschler, Semiconductor Engineering | Feat. Jörg Grosse, Product Manager Functional Safety, OneSpin

Circuit aging was considered somebody else’s problem when most designs were for chips in consumer applications, but not anymore.

Much of this reflects a shift in markets. When most chips were designed for consumer electronics, such as smart phones, designs typically were replaced every couple of years. But with the mobile phone market flattening, and as chips increasingly are used in automotive, industrial and medical applications, reliability has become much more important. Aging is a major component of reliability, and concerns are even starting to spill over to chips designed for mobile phone devices. Numerous industry insiders say mobile phone OEMs are demanding that new chips last at least four years rather than two, and in other markets they may have to remain functional for up to 20 years.

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Disregard Safety And Security At Your Own Peril

Experts at the Table, part 1: How do automotive notions of safety and security compare to those in avionics?

Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss industry attitudes towards safety and security with Dave Kelf, chief marketing officer for Breker Verification; Jacob Wiltgen, solutions architect for functional safety at Mentor, a Siemens Business; David Landoll, solutions architect for OneSpin Solutions; Dennis Ciplickas, vice president of characterization solutions at PDF Solutions; Andrew Dauman, vice president of engineering for Tortuga Logic; and Mike Bartley, chief executive officer for TV&S. What follows are excerpts of that conversation.

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Accelerating Endpoint Inferencing

Machine learning, with the correct hardware infrastructure, may soon reach endpoints.

Comments by Raik Brinkmann, President and CEO of OneSpin.

Chipmakers are getting ready to debut inference chips for endpoint devices, even though the rest of the machine-learning ecosystem has yet to be established.

Whatever infrastructure does exist today is mostly in the cloud, on edge-computing gateways, or in company-specific data centers, which most companies continue to use. For example, Tesla has its own data center. So do most major carmakers, banks, and virtually every Fortune 1,000 company. And while some processes have been moved into public clouds, the majority of data is staying put for privacy reasons.

Still, something has to be done to handle the mountain of data heading their way

[...]

 

...“The trend for people doing edge devices is to include multiple levels of AI. So a simple AI algorithm may detect movement, which powers up the next stage, which may switch to recognition. And if that’s interesting, then it will power up the real computation engine that does something.”

 

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Side-Channel Attacks on Embedded Processors

By Dr. Raik Brinkmann, President and CEO of OneSpin, for EE Times

 

Secure enclaves and root of trust are not enough. Hardware vulnerabilities affect the security of automotive, medical, and IoT systems.

In January 2018, computer security researchers disclosed two critical processor vulnerabilities that malicious programs could exploit to leak secure data: Meltdown and Spectre.

The engineering community and the public at large are accustomed to software vulnerabilities requiring frequent app updates or installation of operating system patches. These were different — hardware was the culprit, and hardware is not cheap to update.

The only practical approach is to release new software that, at the cost of making the system slower and less energy efficient, masks vulnerable hardware functions or avoids their use. Meltdown and Spectre sparked a series of investigations into hardware security.

Researchers already unveiled numerous more vulnerabilities, including Foreshadow, ZombieLoad, RIDL, and Fallout. These hardware flaws compromise the security of personal computers, smartphones, and even the cloud.

What about embedded systems?...

 

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