Author Archives: John Donovan

About John Donovan

Writer, editor, Dad

Low Energy ANTs?

As we noted elsewhere Nordic Semi has just launched its nRF51 Series of multi-mode, ultra-low-power (ULP) wireless SoCs. The first two ICs to debut in the nRF51 Series are the nRF51822, a multi-protocol Bluetooth low energy/2.4GHz proprietary RF SoC, and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Low Power to the People!

No, this isn’t another of Donovan’s rants, it’s a DAC Pavilion Panel on low-power design that I’ll be moderating on Monday morning. Here’s your chance to grill the gurus–well, three of them anyway–on numerous aspects of low-power design. It’s in … Continue reading

Posted in DAC, EDA, Energy Efficiency, Microcontrollers, Power management | Leave a comment

Trust and Verify

While system-level design has been proceeding apace for many years—approaching the goal haltingly and asymptotically—system-level verification remains the Achilles heel of that enterprise. SoC design in particular increasingly consists of assembling IP from a variety of vendors, reusing some of … Continue reading

Posted in EDA | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dual Core AMP for Embedded MCU Applications

Symmetrical dual-core processors—using two identical cores—are hardly novel, in fact they’re a bit passé by now. And asymmetrical multicore processors (AMP)—usually combining a CPU and a DSP—have also been around for many years. What’s new is an AMP MCU that combines … Continue reading

Posted in ARM, semiconductors | Tagged , | 1 Comment

big.LITTLE is Big

Asymmetrical multiprocessing is a great idea that’s challenging to execute. It’s relatively straightforward to process high-speed, high definition video doing symmetrical multiprocessing (SMP) using an array of identical DSPs instantiated in an SoC or FPGA. However, doing asymmetrical multiprocessing (AMP) … Continue reading

Posted in ARM | Leave a comment

Share the Air(waves)

With seemingly everyone in the world over the age of six owning a smart phone, the FCC estimates that the demand for wireless services will continue to increase over 50% year-over-year. While the cellular network load due to voice traffic … Continue reading

Posted in Cell phones, FCC, regulation | Leave a comment

802.11 to the nth Degree

It seems like every major wireless protocol is coming out with a variant that can make it under the low-power limbo bar. Bluetooth has spawned Bluetooth Low Energy and ZigBee now has a low-power healthcare profile. Not to be outdone, … Continue reading

Posted in RF/Wireless, semiconductors | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bluetooth Goes Ultra-Low-Power

There’s hardly a cell phone on the planet that doesn’t have a Bluetooth transceiver for connecting to a wireless headset. Most new PCs now incorporate Bluetooth chips for the same purpose, letting you type while you talk or listen. Many, … Continue reading

Posted in Wireless | Tagged | Leave a comment

Synopsys Buys Magma—But Will the Marriage Last?

By John Donovan Synopsys yesterday (11/30/2011) announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to buy Magma Design Automation for $507 million, the largest acquisition in the EDA industry in many years. The acquisition will strengthen Synopsys’ position in both … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Electric Flight—the Ultimate Energy Efficiency Challenge

If you think electric cars are impressive, how about an electric 747? On a smaller scale, that flight of fancy just became a reality. Last month in Santa Rosa, CA, an electric-powered 4-seat light plane won the NASA/Google Green Flight … Continue reading

Posted in Clean energy, Electric flight, Energy Efficiency | Leave a comment