Posts for news
Weekly Reading Listby Sebastien Mirolo on Wed, 1 Jan 2014
Short list updated weekly of articles and papers we read and found worth mentioning.
Week ending Jan 26th 2014
- Hybrid Cloud Security Challenges
- Foundries Flourishing, says McLean Report
- Solutions To Actually Help EDA-Start-Ups
- Mixed-signal asics are good even for smaller volume products
- Designing the Next Wave of Computer Chips
- This "Lab On a Chip" Can Identify a Pill's Ingrdients
Fab or Fab-less, that is the question.by Sebastien Mirolo on Sun, 31 Mar 2013
An recent article in USA Today, Why semiconductor ecosystem is more fragile than ever, triggered a lot of thinking inside fortylines. After all if our customers have trouble to manufacture their integrated circuits (ICs) we have a bigger problem on our hands than lowering the cost of innovation through cloud computing.
The big game
Leading-edge digital processing technology is not a game for the faint heart. The technology prowess necessary to work at the limits of physics and deliver seamlessly bleeding edge processors in high volume is very much cost intensive.
Each process node requires deeper and deeper integration between EDA tools and manufacturing facilities. Samsung is still definitely in the game, manufacturing is a critical piece of their strategy. TSMC will boost Capital Expenditures in 2013 to Record $9 Billion in order to stay in the game.With total revenue for the entire EDA industry around $5 billion in 2011, you have to wonder why TSMC has not bought Synopsis, Cadence or both yet. Maybe Samsung will. It has a stronger history of managing software, a more international and diverse work-force, and will directly benefit from owning EDA expertise.
Lenovo is going into the chip business to secure access to parts it needs, either directly or through leverage in negotiation with other semiconductors companies. Apple might not have other choice than going into manufacturing itself.
So where does that leave our market of vibrant innovative fabless companies?
Fabless companies that would be somewhat immune from the silicon manufacturing chock are either far enough remote from it or have found alternatives.
Intellectual Property suppliers are candidates. Traditionally those companies provide hardware blocks that end-up into SoCs. Recently new breeds of Intellectual Property suppliers have also emerged. These are really software application providers with an accelerator component in silicon. Even though many of those IP companies consider themselves in the hardware business, hardly any of their engineers have seen the inside of a factory or worry about yield and supply chain management. As the software world moves towards multi-threaded distributed design technologies, differentiation between Hardware and Software IP suppliers is becoming arbitrary.
For companies making their revenue actually selling physical ICs, control on the supply chain is too important to the bottom line to be left unattended.
Improving latency is hard, dammed hard. Fortunately a lot of emerging opportunities around Big Data processing require throughput more than latency. This could translate to architecture that leverage older process nodes. Analysis and correlations on large volumes of data also means that interconnect technologies might be more important than shrinking silicon technology for many new designs.
Smaller vendors might benefit from out-of-phase sales cycle. For example, if you are selling processors that go primarily into fridges, your biggest volumes might be expected in spring when factory utilization is low, giving you a chance to get your batch through on time.
There hasn't been a revolution like 3D printing in the IC world yet but reading through Producing Semiconductors from Graphene and A Computer Inside a Cell, Manufacturing of ICs could economically scale to very low volume in the future.
In conclusion, you can still build a vibrant IC business even if you are not Intel or Samsung but you need to deal with the manufacturing constraints head-on first.
Weekly Reading Listby Sebastien Mirolo on Tue, 1 Jan 2013
Short list updated weekly of articles and papers we read and found worth mentioning.
Week ending Dec 23rd 2013
- Graphene sticky notes may offer 32GB capacity you can write on
- Your visual how-to guide for SELinux policy enforcement
Week ending Dec 14th 2013
- DARPA makes finding software vulnerabilities fun
- Open hardware for education with littleBits library of electronic modules
- Users should have their hands on Intel's Galileo computer within two weeks
- Sentient code: An inside look at Stephen Wolfram’s utterly new, insanely ambitious computational paradigm
- Will Graph-Based Scenario Models Dominate Verification?
Week ending Nov 10th 2013
- Why the Attack on Buffer Was a Serious Wake-Up Call for the Web
- Risk-based Authentication: A Primer
- How to program unreliable chips
- Wafer-scale processing of lab-on-chip devices at Imec
Week ending Nov 3rd 2013
Week ending Oct 27th 2013
Week ending Oct 20th 2013
- Gartner: Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For 2014
- The disruptive business model for higher education is open source
- TSMC posts record quarterly profit
- The End of Web Development as We Know It
- European launches €1bn graphene research project
week ending Oct 14th 2013
- Human-readable RTL code generation
- Carnegie Mellon pledges to make chips smarter
- Graphene could boost natural gas-powered cars and lead to better beer bottles
week ending Oct 6th 2013
- Paypal has rebuilt Netflix’s cloud-management system for OpenStack
- The State of Open Hardware Entrepreneurship 2013
- TSMC to spend record budget on R&D in 2013
- Foreign suppliers dominate chip market
- Photonics breakthrough could allow faster, more efficient computing
- Graphene Could Make Data Centers and Supercomputers More Efficient
- The First Carbon Nanotube Computer
- Do you have a cloud exit strategy? Here’s one clear path.
- World's First Quantum Metamaterial Unveiled
- Post-post-PC: The new materials, tech, and CPU designs that will revive overclocking and enthusiast computing
- The Slow Winter
week ending Sep 22nd 2013
- How to Write Safe Verilog: Become a PL Troll
- Facebook And Internet.org Detail "1000X" Technologies They Hope Will Bring Earth Online
- Mask Data Prep Issues Compounding At 20nm
- Graphene Turns Light Into Electricity For Faster Circuits
- New Approach to Making Graphene Could Lead to Workable Transistors
- Taiwan Chip Industry Powers the Tech World, but Struggles for Status
week ending Sep 15th 2013
- Why Hardware Development Is Hard, Part 1: Verilog Is Weird
- DNA used to assemble transistor from grapheme
- Advancing Graphene for Post-Silicon Computer Logic
- An EDA Industry of Startups, Behemoths, Corner Stores, and Zombies?
- Intel Expands Custom Processor Business
- Cloud Simulation Security Q&A with Rescale
week ending Aug 25th 2013
- Building the open source laptop: How one engineer turned the geek fantasy to reality
- New Icebreaker Sails Sideways to Cut Massive Passages
- Top 20 Nginx WebServer Best Security Practices
- Mythbusting modern hardware to gain "Mechanical Sympathy"
- It is a numbers game
- Adapteva's $100 Parallella Supercomputer Platform Now Shipping
- Building A Rackspace Private Cloud … In My Garage
- Graphene isn’t the only 2D material
- Defending the Internet at Scale
- Lock-free Condition Wait for Lock-free Multi-producer Multi-consumer Queue
- Carbyne could upset graphene as the strongest material in existence
- It’s A Materials World
- Why Some Startups Say the Cloud Is a Waste of Money
- The Hardware Revolution Is Upon Us And Why It Matters
week ending Aug 7th 2013
- How Medium is building a new kind of company with no managers
- How money and markets are shaking up semiconductors
week ending Aug 3rd 2013
- Marissa Mayer Neuters The Cowboy Coder
- How I became unfit for the corporate world
- The unprofitable SaaS business model trap
week ending 21 July 2013
- Transitioning To a Mobile Centric World
- Do things that don't scale
- Capital market climate change
- Infineon: Breaking Down Automotive Attacks
- Graphene devices switch in femtoseconds
- Seeing Spots At 10nm
week ending 7 July 2013
- From DARPA, A Virtual Tool To Revolutionize Robotics
- How to Talk to Investors about Marketing and Growth
- Apple's security strategy: make it invisible
- Evan Williams on Hatching Big Ideas
- The Difference Between Makers and Manufacturers
- How to Make Your Content Go Viral
- SEMICON West keynoter outlines The Big Five Challenges of the semiconductor industry
- Strong ties bind spy agencies and Silicon Valley
- Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems
- Chris Dixon: Some thoughts on mobile
- The Best Hope for France’s Young? Get Out
- Formal verification in five easy lessons
week ending 30 June 2013
- A founder-friendly term sheet
- The Curse of the Network Effect
- Researchers kill computer circuit size limits
- Startup Skybox
- Because Asia
- 28-nm SoC development costs doubled over previous node
- Will graphene supercapacitors be the best?
- 450mm – It’s bigger than you think
- Anatomy of a hack: How crackers ransack passwords like "qeadzcwrsfxv1331"
- Networking chip firm Mellanox to buy startup Kotura. Because photonics.
- Survey on the Future of Open Source, and Lessons from the Past
- Graphene Gets A New Superpower: Magnetism
- Will trend for low cost chip development bring back the investors?
- Programming Languages side-by-side
- The Future Belongs to Programmers
- Apple & Samsung's "Profit Share" Trap
- As Tech Giants Scramble For Talent, It’s Buy Or Die
- Unknown Mathematician Proves Elusive Property of Prime Numbers
week ending 26 May 2013
- Jay Silver: Hack a banana, make a keyboard!
- Android’s Market Share Is Literally A Joke
- Of Course Apple Avoids Billions in Taxes—and It Should
week ending 19 May 2013
week ending 12 May 2013
week ending 5 May 2013
- Five Reasons Today’s Data Centers are Broken
- What a stupid idea
- Rehabilitating the Arrogant Engineer
- 5 Startup Hiring Mistakes That Can Crush Your Culture
- What a dead squirrel taught me about value pricing
- Air Force to turn over 0.14-micron MMIC technology to industry for advanced radar
- China just surpassed the US in semiconductor manufacturing
- The Quiet Revolution in Programming
week ending 28 Apr 2013
- Chinese Restaurant owner says robot noddle maker doing a good job
- Race with the machines
- The Quiet Revolution in Programming
- Moore’s Law and the Origin of Life
- Through the Looking Glass: Hiring Sales People
- A lesson of Public e-Policy
week ending 21 Apr 2013
- Germanane beats graphene
- Tiny Chiplets: A New Level of Micro Manufacturing
- Top Performers Never Work "For" A Company
- Startup to the Power of 10
- The Relativity of Wrong
- The Santa Claus problem
week ending 7 Apr 2013
week ending 31 Mar 2013
- The Burn Rate vs Growth Tradeoff (Part I)
- HP Labs builds a glasses-free, portable 3D display with wide viewing angles
- Why semiconductor ecosystem is more fragile than ever
- How Samsung Became the World's No. 1 Smartphone Maker
- All Markets Are Not Created Equal: 10 Factors To Consider When Evaluating Digital Marketplaces
- Bad Directors and Why They Aren’t Thrown Out
- Bad at Their Jobs, and Loving It
- Cache-Conscious Wavefront Scheduling
- MorphCore: An Energy-Efficient Microarchitecture for High Performance ILP and High Throughput TLP
week ending 24 Mar 2013
- ELC: SpaceX lessons learned
- How the America Invents Act Will Change Patenting Forever
- China, India outspending U.S. in semiconductors
- Nvidia introduces its own Grid-based server
week ending 17 Mar 2013
- Why Your Marketing Campaign Sucks
- The Math of FOSS Freeloaders: Why Freeloaders are Essential to FOSS Project Success
- Zombie Startups
- Moneyball, VC Style
- More falsehoods programmers believe about time
- Un accident nucleaire, c'est la fin de la democratie
week ending 3 Mar 2013
- Boss Talk: What RSA Learned From Its Security Breach
- Google’s Android Reborn as Network-Hacking Kit
- CQRS – a new architecture precept based on segregation of commands and queries
- Simple Generators v. Lazy Evaluation
- “Venture Assistance”: A Philosophical View Of What Boards Should And Should Not Do
- There Will Be Broadband: Forgotten by the Future, Some Take the Internet Into Their Own Hands
- This Amazing 3-D Desktop Was Born at Microsoft
week ending 24 Feb 2013
- The Philosophy of Data
- Why hiring B players will kill your startup
- Adobe Photoshop Source Code
- Transcript: The keys to Andreessen Horowitz's success
- The Brain Is Not Computable
- The computer that never crashes
- Nanotubes Seen as Alternative When Silicon Chips Hit Their Limits
- Quick, efficient chip cleans up common flaws in amateur photographs
- Accelerating Moore’s Law
- H2? Irrelevant. Person? Everything.
week ending 10 Feb 2013
- Building the Skills of Insight
- Why Google’s settlement with French publishers is bad for the web
- How Newegg crushed the "shopping cart" patent and saved online retail
- Spintronics used to create 3D microchip
- Wingham Rowan: A new kind of job market
- The End of the Web, Search, and Computer as We Know It
- Why Nokia’s 3D-printing move embraces the future
- Disruptions: Design Rivals Technology in Importance
- Reality Check on Sustainable Energy
- The second generation of cloud startups is here
- Is San Francisco The Brooklyn To Silicon Valley's Unbuilt Manhattan?
- If, Why, and How Founders Should Hire a “Professional” CEO
week ending 30 Jan 2013
- Business: Making the Case for Cloud Simulation
- DesignCon: Nvidia's engineering VP wants better design tools
- The 787's Problems Run Deeper Than Outsourcing
- Programming Literacy Done Right: It’s About the Tools
- Samsung's big push for 2013: content, corporates
week ending 6 Jan 2013
- How to minimize politics in your company
- Management Debt
- The walk from "no" to "yes"
- Global semiconductor revenues grew less than 1% this year but will hit $319 billion in 2013
- FinFETs or FD-SOI?
- The Only Strategies You'll Need To Achieve Your Goals In 2013
- The freelance economy is a suckers game
- 25-GPU cluster cracks every standard Windows password in less than 6 hours
- The Fifth Horseman: Samsung
- 2013: Trends, issues, hopes and fears
- Researchers build featherweight chips that dissolve in water
- IBM creates first cheap, commercially viable, electronic-photonic integrated chip
- You Are All Soft! Embrace Chaos!
- Research Discovery Could Revolutionise Semiconductor Manufacture
- Tiny compound semiconductor transistor could challenge silicon’s dominance
- New EU-wide patent system approved by the European Parliament
- The Dueling Myths of Business
- To stream everywhere, Netflix encodes each movie 120 times
- Here come the design patents
- Les plus vieux et plus grands arbres de la planète se meurent
Week in the Newsby Sebastien Mirolo on Sun, 7 Oct 2012
In the bare metal space, there is a lot more going on these days than shrinking technology process. FinFET, 3D ICs and Producing Semiconductors from Graphene are just a few of the advances putting pressure on the current generation of EDA tools - translate space for innovative companies.
If you are to believe the following announcement, the economics to continue 8-bit and 16-bit micro-controller product development are not good. Manufacturing cost compared to 32-bit alternatives might still be cheaper; though maybe not for long.
On the other side of the spectrum, between Bezos, CIA invest $30M in quantum computing startup and Spurned by VCs, a chip startup turns to Kickstarter, there is funding for innovative high-end processors. Not convinced yet? Take a look here; $25M in 2008, at the heart of the financial crisis.
Finally, this latest article fits in a long series of indicators that the future will be heterogeneous multi-cores system-on-chips. While the ripples into operating systems, compilers, programming languages, etc. will soon be felt, some of my personal predictions are:
- Future languages, optimizers and linkers will have to be built with heterogeneous target in mind.
- We will see more of the new programming languages borrowing from verilog and vhld because most of the future problems will require parallel thinking.
- FPGA are unbelievably cheap and older processor technology are becoming accessible to smaller budget so maybe we will have some language and tools that can do both, compile to an Hardware macro and executable code on a SoC at the same time.
- Compilers are next to move into the cloud because compilation is a compute-intensive problem that benefits from readily available compute clusters.
Read this week (Aug 12th)by Sebastien Mirolo on Sun, 12 Aug 2012
After the successful Curiosity landing on Mars, here a great article on energy harvesting designs. In advanced micro-electronics, news on DARPA THz Electronics program are worth mentioning as well as TSMC investment in ASML. In that last article I found the following quote that will resonate with many here:
“The IT industry loves to natter on about the benefits of innovation, and consumers tend to fixate on whatever shiny new thing comes to market,” King wrote in a July 11 report. “But getting from the here and now to that glistening, magical innovative future requires a hell of a lot of hard, practical work in materials science, design, manufacturing and production. In essence, successful vendors are a bit like ballet stars—displaying a level of grace on stage which, when successful, never hints at the months and years of effort required to appear effortless.”
While fortylines focuses on front-end chip design, there is also a lot of change coming up in foundries business models as well.
Cash as oxygen is great analogy between businesses and humans. When there is no more, your business dies. When there is too much cash you run the risk divers call Nitrogen Narcosis, or in plain English, feeling drunk underwater; deadly. In both cases, checking metrics regularly will help you stay healthy. In that respect, a clear post on business metrics can be found on redpoint blog.
Good tips in Secrets of a Master Negotiator.
Start-up outside the social scene
The New York Times article on FarmLogs deserves a special mention this week.