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Synaptics AI Platform

Synaptics’ Wedge in Edge AI is ‘Astra’

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
Synaptics is joining the edge AI club with a platform called “Astra” – a glimpse of which the company teased out this week. Synaptics is banking on Astra to win a crowded, fragmented, and highly competitive edge AI segment. Can it pull it off?

Synaptics developed the Astra platform to enable system designers to make AI as easy, ubiquitous, and quotidian as possible in a host of products, including some not typically viewed as needing AI.

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Can Chinese Chiplets Dodge Export Controls?

Can Chinese Chiplets Dodge Export Controls?

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
Chiplets can advance the semiconductor industry by enabling system companies and semiconductor suppliers to mix and match chiplets manufactured by different foundries for heterogeneous integration. That concept, however, is also helping China to develop home-grown AI processors that could rival those manufactured by Western companies, currently banned from export.

Late last month, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published updated export controls covering advanced computing items and semiconductor manufacturing equipment under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

Buried within the dense bureaucratese was a reference to chiplets, a data point largely unreported in the tech media.

The agency’s updated export controls, set to go into effect on Nov. 17, 2023, added chiplet restrictions.

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Renesas’ Automotive Future: Go Big on Chiplets

Renesas’ Automotive Future: Go Big on Chiplets

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
While Nvidia, Qualcomm and Mobileye tend to suck the oxygen out of the next-gen automotive E/E platform discussions, other automotive semiconductor companies must pick a spot where they think they can win and hold onto their share. But by pre-announcing this week the Gen 5 R-CAR SoCs and their new chiplet options, Renesas is planning to cover a broad range of automotive architecture. Will the new strategy work?  

Renesas Electronics this week unveiled its latest automotive semiconductor strategy. Executives laid out the company’s planned product offerings ranging from high-performance SoCs to Arm-based automotive MCUs, and automotive chiplet options.

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Can Chiplets Make SoC Design into Child’s Play?

Can Chiplets Make SoC Design a Child’s Play?

By Ron Wilson

What’s at stake:
Ideally, chiplets could be off-the-shelf products that snap together like building blocks — no EDA tools required. Anyone who could specify exactly what they wanted could create a system-in-package implementation, opening up silicon to a far wider range of designers, and, incidentally, undermining parts of the EDA and design-services industries. Could it ever really happen?

One early conception of chiplets — in their formative days within the US Department of Defense — was of an open market. You could buy the functions you needed off the shelf, arrange them into a multi-die assembly, and after verification and analysis have a finished hardware design. Later thinking took this idea ever further. What if you could, figuratively speaking, just snap the chiplets together like building blocks, with no complex design automation tools or analyses needed, and could be sure that the resulting assembly would work correctly?

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Ask Not What Apple Net Zero Can Do For You …

Ask Not What Apple Net Zero Can Do For You …

By Junko Yoshida and George Leopold

What’s at stake:
So far, Apple’s leadership toward net-zero emissions is a mixture of sincere advocacy, lip service and marketing deflection. Even as it prescribes remedies to suppliers and partners, it must also heal itself.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently visited NXP Semiconductors at its Eindhoven headquarters.

This triggered a posting outburst by NXP’s social media team, including a photo of CEO Kurt Sievers with Cook posing near a workbench in what looks like a design/engineering room. NXP’s LinkedIn post called Cook’s visit “truly historic.”

Indeed, capturing Sievers and Cook together in a single frame was a “photo op” to make any corporate PR marketing team drool and apply adjectives like “historic.”

More historic, though, is the photo’s context.

Read More »Ask Not What Apple Net Zero Can Do For You …
AV Altruism

Autonomous Altruism

AV developers are driven by goals that aren’t exactly the same as what the rest of society want. It’s time to acknowledge that difference.