Opening Windows into SoC Hardware

CATEGORIES : SoC, System Management/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

There is a long tradition in system design for embedding special hardware to observe and manipulate the state of the system. From the beginning of digital computing, central processors have had hardware to support single-step, loading and examination of registers and memory, and setting of breakpoints for software debugging. Much later chronologically but early in […]

The Mathematics of Range Anxiety

CATEGORIES : All, System Management/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

Late at night, the student in the apartment is awakened by a strange smell. Investigating in the darkened rooms, she sees a burst of flame engulf her roommate’s hoverboard. There is only just enough time to get everyone out of the apartment before the rooms are fully involved. Near the end of the marathon, a […]

The FinFET Revolution is Changing Computer Architecture

CATEGORIES : All, System Architecture, System Management, Uncategorized/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

The arrival of FinFETs, starting in the 20 nm CMOS logic process node, has been justly credited with saving Moore’s Law. Just as our ability to continue scaling planar MOSFETs began to come apart, the FinFET’s vastly superior channel control came to the rescue, taming leakage currents and opening the way to continued voltage scaling. […]

System Management Controllers: How to Tie a Gordian Knot

CATEGORIES : All, System Management/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

No other area of modern system design seems as perplexing as the apparently trivial subject of system management controllers—or chassis management, or shelf management, or board management, or any of a half-dozen other terms. The trouble begins with that old demon of design, feature creep. “When I was first involved in this area,” recalls Hewlett […]