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Semiconductor industry performance a pleasant surprise: Dr. Wally Rhines

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The year 2018 is nearly upon us! And, who better than Dr. Walden C. Rhines, CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors of Mentor, a Siemens business, a leading industry personality, to provide us with an outlook for the global semiconductor industry!

Dr. Wally Rhines and I chatted about the global semiconductor and EDA industries, the Accellera Portable Stimulus Standard (PSS), and a host of other issues.
Wally

Semicon industry in 2018
First, how is Mentor predicting the global semiconductor industry to perform in 2018?

Dr. Rhines said: “The semiconductor industry performance for 2017 has been a pleasant surprise for most industry observers. The year is finally winding down, with the expectations for growth in the low 20s on the average – nearly 3-4 times as much as most observers had predicted only one year ago.

“Unit growth has consistently been 7-9 percent in recent years since the great recession. However, ASPs have been pretty consistently declining until 2017, when they were driven up mostly by memory prices for DRAMs and FLASH. Memory, once again, is behind the 2017 boom cycle. However, the rest of the IC business has also been relatively strong with growth in the higher single digits (7-8 percent), which is stronger than we have experienced in recent years.

“Memory prices are expected to soften as additional capacity comes on-line in 2018, especially as the year continues into the second half. However, the remainder of the non-memory semiconductor market should continue to have strong performance similar to 2017 (~7-8 percent) as the market fundamentals remain strong.

“Over the last several years, the semiconductor industry has experienced a wave of consolidations. I believe that we are between major waves of growth that are typical of the semiconductor industry. Historically, new semiconductor growth is ushered in by new applications that become possible when the cost per function, or some other new capability, makes the new application possible.

“In recent years, the cost per transistor for semiconductors has decreased more than 35 percent per year, just as it has, on average, for most of the last 60 years. It’s likely that continuation of this trend will, in fact, enable future waves of new semiconductor applications.

“Packaging, as well as package/chip simulation, continue to be important issues. Next generation simulation, verification, and analysis for multi-chip packaging configurations is now available. Now, designers of chips can intelligently analyze the packaging and pin-out configurations that will be most effective for cost and performance, based on a steady flow of data between the packaging engineer and the chip designer.”

EDA segment in 2018
And, how is the EDA segment looking in 2018?

According to Dr. Rhines, the EDA License and Maintenance is having a strong year in 2017. The annual growth is over 9 percent through the most recent four quarters with available data (Q3 2016 – Q2 2017).

He said: “The Semiconductor IP component of EDA achieved growth of nearly 17 percent overall, over the same period, as would be expected since Semiconductor IP is an important part of the supply chain for the broader semiconductor market.

“With expectations for the world economy and the overall semiconductor industry remaining strong, I expect semiconductor investment into design to also remain strong. EDA License and Maintenance is accounted for within the semiconductor company R&D expense budgets. Those budgets have a strong correlation to EDA License and Maintenance revenue. Therefore, I expect similarly strong growth in 2018.
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What’s with names and numbers?

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What’s with names and numbers? It all started when a friend casually asked me whether I was destined to win so many awards! Now, I don’t even know why I have won so many awards for my blogs. Actually, it was 17 at last count, 16 international and one national. We did a numerology report. A table is given here for those interested.
Numbers
First, my full name. PRADEEP CHAKRABORTY.
PRADEEP = 7+9+1+4+5+5+7 = 38/2
CHAKRABORTY = 3+8+1+2+9+1+2+6+9+2+7 = 50
So, PRADEEP CHAKRABORTY, added together is 38+50 = 88+8 = 16. And, 1+6=7.

Now, my favourite subject: SEMICONDUCTORS.
SEMICONDUCTORS = 1+5+4+9+3+6+5+4+3+3+2+6+9+1 = 61 – 6+1 = 7.
ELECTRONICS = 5+3+5+3+2+9+6+5+9+3+1 = 51 = 5+1 = 6.
ELECTRONIC = 5+3+5+3+2+9+6+5+9+3 = 50 = 5+0 = 5
COMPONENTS = 3+6+4+7+6+5+5+5+2+1 = 44 = 4+4 = 8. Total” 5+8 = 13/4.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS: 2+5+3+5+3+6+4+ 4+3+5+9+3+1+2+9+6+5+1 = 76 = 7+6 = 4.

Three things are very clear! One, semiconductors has ALWAYS been my favorite for a number of reasons. The first reason is very simple – my name and the subject — 7 and 7, match! Two, electronics comes very close, and it also, somehow, runs the world. Three, so does the electronic components, but as the number 4 suggests, it is a subject difficult to grasp. The same applies to telecoms, as well.

Don’t agree with me? Well, as a question: please ask your friend: what does your phone do? He/she will come up with a long list. If you rephrase the question as to: what node is the platform (for a device) based on, the answer will be ‘silence‘! 😉

Okay, this is getting a bit boring! 🙂 Let’s have some fun with sports, eh?

ATHLETICS: 1+2+8+3+5+2+9+3+1 = 34/7. Difficult, but very entertaining. To excel, you need to work very hard.

BADMINTON: 2+1+4+4+9+5+2+6+5 = 38/2. A game favoured by romantics. Elegant to watch. Smash it! 😉

BASKETBALL: 2+1+1+2+5+2+2+1+3+3 = 22/4 – Fast paced. You need to be fast paced too!

BOXING: 2+6+6+9+5+7 = 35/8. This is a game for tough men and women who can take a pounding.

CHESS: 3+8+5+1+1 = 18/9. Played by few. Understood by few.

CRICKET: 3+9+9+3+2+5+2 = 33/6. A game for the masses. Interesting, that there are a handful of test teams in the world. Mostly, former British colonies.

FOOTBALL: 6+6+6+2+2+1+3+3 = 29/2. Very popular, but rough game, for the masses.

JUDO: 1+3+4+6 = 14/5 = Again, for the masses. Few practitioners in India, though

GYMNASTICS: 7+7+4+5+1+1+2+9+3+1 = 40/4. This one’s tough, but makes for great watching.

SWIMMING: 1+5+9+4+4+9+5+7 = 44/8. A tough game. Prefers folks who are very fit!

TAE-KWAN-DO: 2+1+5+2+5+1+5+4+6 = 31/4. Same as above.

TABLE TENNIS: 2+1+2+3+5+2+5+5+5+9+1 = 40/4. Fast paced! Same as above.

TENNIS: 2+5+5+5+9+1 = 27/9. A sport for the masses, featuring gladiators.

VOLLEYBALL: 4+6+3+3+5+7+2+1+9+9 = 49/4. This one’s needs tremendous agility. Well, which game doesn’t?

WEIGHTLIFTING: 5+5+9+7+8+2+3+9+6+2+9+5+7 = 77/5. For supermen and women.

Let’s look at sports. SPORTS: 1+7+6+9+2+1 = 26/8.

Sports itself, is a difficult discipline. So, how can anyone excel in any one among these sports, or well, in life? Simple. By doing hard work! 🙂 It all comes to those individuals who work hard nearly all their life.

Friends, I encourage all of you to try out your full name and full date of birth, (eg. 01-02-2011) separately, and respectively, to see where you stand in life! 🙂

Be aware! Numbers DO NOT make any man or woman. Only HARD WORK does! 🙂 You need to be agile, have the necessary skills, and speed, to excel in any field!

AGILE: 1+7+9+3+5 = 25/7.
SKILLS: 1+2+9+3+3+1 = 19/1.
SPEED: 1+7+5+5+4 = 22/4.
HARD WORK: 8+1+9+4+5+6+9+2 = 43/7.

Finally, in case I’ve made any mistakes, while adding up the numbers, kindly forgive me. I am NOT an astrologer. 🙂

Movie on my life? Naahh!! ;)

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Pradeep
That’s me! 🙂

This is extremely funny! An acquaintance recently called to check whether I would be interested in having a movie made on my life! Before he could finish, I replied, NO!

Some thoughts! First, why make a movie on me, a nobody? Two, I haven’t even achieved anything great like any sportsperson! Three, who will even watch the movie? Four, who will act my role??

The acquaintance said that I had won nine global awards for my blog, and that is a very great achievement! Hmmm, I have won eight global awards and one Indian award, that too from the film industry, of all people! 😉

In fact, I have won 21 awards so far, four at Global Sources, Hong Kong, and 17 for my blogs, including nine for Pradeep’s Point! However, I personally don’t think these would lead to any movie!

Come to think about it! So far, NO ONE in India has recognized my work, which is fine, given the lack of semiconductor- and electronics-related work and writings from India.

The one award that I did receive in India, was from the Indian film industry. I even recall asking my family: is everything all right with the Indian film industry? Why are they giving me this award??

Given the general lack of awareness, and well, the lack of overall support for me, at least, I can only think of three people who have supported me right through — Jo Kuo from Taiwan, and Usha Prasad and Aanchal Ghatak from India, besides my immediate family.

I don’t even want to mention the lack of ANY support from my relatives. Not their fault, as semiconductors is tough for anyone to understand, right?

I would like to thank the entire Asian Sources Media, now, Global Sources, Hong Kong, and all the folks there for helping me understand the intricacies of telecom, electronics, and semiconductors, and of course, the Global Sources’ tutelage. My thanks to the global electronics and semiconductor industries as well, without whom this would not have happened.

There is an interesting remark on my Facebook from a friend. It says: “Semicon needs to be in the mainstream. Such a miniscule component, but, at the heart of technology. Without semiconductors, we wouldn’t have this easy life.”

Very correct! Hope everyone appreciates this hard fact!

So, what will I do with any movie on my life? 🙂 Enjoy, everyone! This is ridiculous! 😉

 

Veloce structured around verticals

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Anoop Saha, Mentor, did a presentation on Veloce vertical solutions at the Emulation Conference in Bangalore.

MentorVeloce solutions are used across networking, storage, multimedia, mobile, CPU, automotive and military aeronautics. Veloce is structured around verticals to be segment focused, identify and address segment specific challenges, and identify gaps early on.

Veloce solutions are connecting the DUT to the external stimulus. iSolve speed adaptors connect real-life systems with the emulator. The Virtualab peripherals — VirtuaLab is the software representation of a speed adaptor. The Veloce transactor library – Veloce compatible verification IP. Transactors (VTL) to integrate with users UVM testbench and lower the abstraction layer.

In networking, for instance, the network switch is driving complexity. There is shift to SDN driving chip size and high port counts. Next, 5G is also driving new technology
and standards. Veloce for networking is offering solutions on top of core emulation platform. The verification flow is expanding to include Lab system validation. As of now, SDN is said to be creating a methodology shift. Mentor is said to be the only vendor with a complete offering.

Verification can no longer ignore firmware. Emulation enables earlier firmware development. Software debug is done with Codelink. The Veloce power app is used for broad base analysis. Veloce also offers complete solution for multimedia.

There has also been an industry shift from spec to benchmark. Many new apps target benchmarks for mobile devices. Examples are the AnTuTu benchmark, Geekbench for CPU and GPU benchmark, GFXBench, a GPU graphics centric benchmark, Android smartphone and tablet benchmark, etc.

ROHM intros Trench SiC MosFET to make renewable energy affordable

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ROHM India has introduced the Trench SiC MosFET technology to make renewable energy affordable. The next step will be innovations for the local automotive industry.

Power electronics is now enabling renewable energy harvesting. Increasing rural-electrification, adoption of home appliances, industrialization and population is bringing more pressure on the grid, and the power generation capacity.

image025India will be the largest importer of coal, natural gas and oil by 2040. The focus on renewable energy has gone up, leading to increased generation and decreased losses. Smart grid will enhance the efficient distribution of power.

Simlife Electric Pvt Ltd introduced the GAN2000, India’s first hybrid battery backed grid-tie solar power generation system, a combination of grid-tie and off-grid. It is designed, developed and manufactured in India. Power electronics reduces the cost/kW, and enables higher switching frequencies, magnetics and SiC.

Making energy affordable
Energy can be made affordable and achieved by extraction of power from multiple sources that are efficient and cost effective. The power conversion is made more efficient and is always available. It is also less resource intense. ROHM recommends SiC Trench MosFETs for high-power applications.

Rohm’s 3G SiC Trench MOS improves performance. The SiC MosFET is a near ideal switch resulting in low overall losses. Using the SiC reduces the overall system cost. High reliability of SiC improves system reliability.Rohm1

As for the future trends for wide-band gap (WBG) semiconductors, 10X growth is expected for WBG products by 2023! Dominant space:s are the SiC = 600V and GaN = 600V. Major growth areas are EV/HEV, chargers, solar, industrial drives.

Applications such as solar/wind power, industrial equipment, EV/HEV, large-scale data center servers, and home electronics/AC benefit from the use of SiC.

ROHM Semiconductor India Pvt Ltd (RSI) a subsidiary of ROHM Co. Ltd, Kyoto, Japan, announced an array of power solutions like SiC, IGBT, and gate drivers, for improving the power conversion efficiency. These products are intended to meet the harsh condition of India’s rapidly growing power infrastructure.

The improvement in size and efficiency owing to the adoption of the power solutions from RSI, like gate drivers, trench SiC MOSFETs, and IGBTs, play a vital role in enabling small scale and distributed power plants for tapping solar and wind energy. A ~2 percent increase in efficiency along with the reduced cooling requirements can bring in a considerable cost saving for the end customers, besides improving the reliability of the power converters.

This will help bridge the demand supply gap, which is “more from less, for more”, thus reaching more people. The distributed power generation, besides reducing a huge burden on our grid, reduces the transmission and distribution losses.

ROHM’s power solutions include a broad range of power devices, IGBT, SiC, besides Silicon MOSFET and gate drivers designed to achieve improved efficiency in high power applications.

Britto Edward Victor, Design Centre-head, ROHM Semiconductor India, said: “Our focus is on home appliances, industrial power and automotive. We now work on power conditioners. We released the silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET. It is also used in rural electrification. Rohm Semiconductor India has a design center in Bangalore. The design center has an Application Engineering group to provide technical support to India customers.”

Artificial Machines enables smart product innovation with strategic partnerships with Mentor Graphics and Qualcomm

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There are a lot of things in electronics manufacturing happening across, in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. When that activity in electronics manufacturing happens in India, it is a matter of great pride for the country. The company bringing pride to India is the Pune-based Artificial Machines.

Artificial Machines was founded in April 2008. Headquartered in Pune, India, it has sales office on Wall Street, New York, USA. It is focusing on IoT, smart machine design, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Haze
Manish Buttan, CEO, Artificial Machines, said: “We are one of the oldest IoT companies. We work with automotive and electronics companies. The HAZE platform was developed in 2015. We are focused on converting traders to makers. We are designing over 20 product lines in consumer electronics.

“We are currently building the TV platform for Videocon and the Videocon Aryabot 2 AC, which is in progress right now. For Eureka Forbes, we have done a few water purifiers. We are also working on a few products for Tata Housing including a door phone, smart lock, smart camera, fire safety, and several products for Godrej & Boyce.

“We are a design house, and designers at the PCB level. We make everything in India. The idea is to develop the IP. We can connect anything built on the HAZE platform. For example, a video doorphone has built-in VoIP. We are lowering the automation costs as well.”

What is HAZE?
Artificial Machines has developed the HAZE platform. The HAZE platform is not just an IoT platform. It is a smart product innovation platform.

“We will develop artificial intelligence for cars by 2018. We will also build the entire electronics for the cars,” Buttan added.

Artificial Machines has partnered some of the largest OEMs in India that have licensed the HAZE platform to develop a range of products in India. Buttan said: “As of today, we have five licensees – Eureka Forbes, Godrej & Boyce. Tata Housing, Usha International, and Videocon. Their products will soon show the ‘Powered by HAZE’ Logo.

“All HAZE Platform Intellectual Property belongs to Artificial Machines. Our customers are promoting the platform by adding our logo to their products. The HAZE License requires that the primary components be purchased through us. The HAZE IP is free to license for customers and we charge a subsidized customization fee for modify HAZE for their requirements. We are heading into a $20-$50 million turnover over the next five years.

“PCBs are being made in India. Also, in China. With Usha, we are doing smart fans, air coolers and lighting brands. With Godrej & Boyce we are doing refrigerators, ACs, smart washing machines, etc.

Over the years, Artificial Machines has participated in developing products such as the Mahindra XUV BlueSense App, Savant home automation System, Vidyo conference platform, Lifeshield home security system, Brookstone grill monitoring app / baby monitor app, and the Videocon Aryabot AC, which are in the market.

Products to be launched include a few water purifiers, smart refrigerator, and next-gen air conditioners. Products that will be completing this year include air coolers, smart lighting, Android TVs, Android refrigerators, video door phones, smart locks, smart cameras, fire safety equipment, and washing machines.

Roles of Mentor Graphics and Qualcomm
What role does Mentor Graphics play in all of this? Mentor Graphics came into the picture, and gave Artificial Machines their tools. Mentor PCB development and validation process involves over 75 processes of reliability. Mentor Graphics has strategically partnered with Artificial Machines and invested EDA tools worth $15 million.

This makes Artificial Machines have the world’s best design tools in PCB design, embedded, automotive, chip design, and manufacturing validation.

Buttan said: “We have a strategic partnership with Mentor Graphics. All of the tools are available to traders. We also have an agreement with Qualcomm. Each OEM can innovate their ideas.”

Qualcomm has been very supportive with the Snapdragon chip licensing to Artificial Machines. Microchip is a premium partner for low-and mid-segment processors. All of these give Artificial Machines some of the widest range of processors and platforms to work with – Bare Metal, Linux and Android. This makes it easy for customers to build Android hardware with HAZE licensing.

Artificial Machines also works closely with several large global manufacturers. Having in-house Valor manufacturing validation tools allows it to provide pre-validated hardware for manufacturing.

Thanks to Mentor Graphics for introducing me to this company.

Mentor unveils Veloce Strato emulation platform with highest RoI

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Mentor Graphics Corp. recently announced the Veloce StratoM emulation platform.

The Veloce Strato platform is Mentor’s third generation data-center friendly emulation platform. It is said to be the only emulation platform with full scalability across both software and hardware. Mentor is also launching the Veloce StratoM high-capacity emulator and Veloce Strato OS enterprise-level operating system.

So, how is the Veloce StratoM platform suitable for data centers than previous version?

According to Montu Makadia, one of the worldwide ATM – Emulation experts at Mentor Graphics ; with the Veloce StratoM emulator, there are no major changes to the lab requirements.

There is the same footprint, lower total power consumption, and lower total cooling requirement (air-cooled, air extraction from top). There is an added flexibility on the door and panel (new in Veloce Strato) that makes system maintenance easier.

The Veloce Strato Platform plans for highest effective capacity (up to 15BG) available. Does it really go up to 15BG? If yes, where are the test results?

According to a Mentor Graphics’ spokesman, as of now, no test results are required. Connecting emulators via a sophisticated connection method is common for Veloce. In this case, the Veloce Strato Link can be used to connect multiple Veloce StratoM emulators to reach 15BG capacity.

“We have installations at companies that will not allow us to talk about them by name. These are large, multinational companies with very advanced verification and validation requirements. The installations have gone extremely well and deployment is underway and happening without issue,” the spokesman added.

Mentor is saying there will be a roadmap to 15BG over five years and beyond? What if others come up with a faster system in between?

The spokesperson said: “We can’t predict what other emulation vendors will do in the next five years. We have done our competitive research and believe that we are uniquely positioned to have, both, the largest capacity available in 2021, as well as the emulation platform with the highest RoI.”

Finally, how is the Veloce Strato OS enterprise-level operating system a step above the earlier OS?

The Veloce Strato OS is the centerpiece of the technology for the overall Veloce architecture. The Veloce operating system basically enables three things: The first is the primary core compiler flow. When you use an emulator, you need to compile the design. You synthesize and partition, and move from an RTL/netlist to something that is mapped to the hardware (P&R).

The Veloce Strato OS delivers an integrated, fully automated, single step compilation flow with about 3x faster compilation time and with a 100 percent compile success rate. The compilation time and a 100 percent compile success is one of the key differentiators compared to an FPGA-based emulator.

Veloce

The OS enables all the use models of verification with a unified compilation, runtime and debug flow. That includes traditional ICE (physical targets-based stimulus), the other virtual use models (SW device models) and testbench acceleration (SW test benches, UVM, SV, SC, TLM, etc.).

The third unique attribute is advanced debug. In addition to the waveform support, it supports Livestream to view a set of important signals, key register for long emulation runs as tests are progressing and Veloce’s unique ‘save and restore’ replay to restore emulation sessions instantaneously at a specified time point for detailed debug activities without re-running the emulation from the beginning.