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In the news

Debugging Complex SoCs | Experts at the Table, Part 1

By Brian Bailey, Semiconductor Engineering | Feat. Dominik Strasser, VP Engineering, OneSpin

Why time spent in debug is increasing, underlying trends, and what surveys do not reveal.

Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the debugging of complex SoCs with Randy Fish, vice president of strategic accounts and partnerships for UltraSoC; Larry Melling, product management director for Cadence; Mark Olen, senior product marketing manager for Mentor, a Siemens Business; and Dominik Strasser, vice president of engineering for OneSpin Solutions. What follows are excerpts of that conversation.

[...]

Strasser: We do see new containers of bugs, like security and side-channel attacks. These are new concerns, and nobody has thought about these in the past. Suddenly, things are seen as being malicious. Out-of-order execution suddenly becomes a side-channel attack and someone is listening to what your processor is doing. It is eavesdropping. Is that a bug? Where is the bug? The bug is in the specification. The bug is in the way the system is constructed.

Fish: It is hard to quantify security. It is hard to optimize anything that cannot be quantified. It is like playing whack-a-mole. Every time there is a breach you learn how to stop that class of problem.

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Open Source Processors: Fact Or Fiction?

By Brian Bailey, Semiconductor Engineering | Feat. Raik Brinkmann, President & CEO, OneSpin

Calling an open-source processor free isn’t quite accurate.

Open source processors are rapidly gaining mindshare, fueled in part by early successes of RISC-V, but that interest frequently is accompanied by misinformation based on wishful thinking and a lack of understanding about what exactly open source entails.

Nearly every recent conference has some mention of RISC-V in particular, and open source processors in general, whether that includes keynote speeches, technical sessions, and panels. What’s less obvious is that open ISAs are not a new phenomenon, and neither are free, open processor implementations.

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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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