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Crossroads For Mixed-Signal Chips

Cutting and pasting intellectual property speeds the design of a system on chip by fabless semiconductor companies

10 min read
Crossroads For Mixed-Signal Chips

fictitious IC design

ILLUSTRATION: LUTHER EASON
Building a System on Chip: Compatibility is the key to building an SoC, as is illustrated by this fictitious IC design. To build it, a fabless semiconductor company has used blocks of intellectual property (IP) acquired from several IP houses. The fabless designers must ensure all the blocks will work together and be compatible with the semiconductor process of the foundry chosen to fabricate the chips.

The last decade saw a surge in the number of small IC design houses that provide systems manufacturers with application-specific ICs (ASICs). These fabless enterprises, so-called because they farm out IC fabrication to commercial silicon chip foundries, cost relatively little to start up yet can be richly rewarded if the market adopts their products. Sustained by a wealth of design tools, they have earned a place alongside long-established, large chip manufacturers like IBM, Intel, Motorola, and Texas Instruments.

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Paying Tribute to Computer Science Pioneer Frederick Brooks, Jr.

He helped develop the IBM System/360 and its operating system

3 min read
portrait of an elderly man in a a red tie and blazer with a bookcase in the background
University of North Carolina

Frederick P. Brooks Jr., a prolific computer scientist and longtime professor of computer science, died on 17 November at the age of 91.

While working as a project manager at IBM in the 1960s, the IEEE Life Fellow led the development of the System/360 computer family. It was the first vertically compatible family of mainframe computers. Brooks also developed IBM’s OS/360, the world’s largest software project at the time. He is credited with coining the term computer architecture, which is used to describe how hardware and software are organized to make up a computer system and the operations which guide its function. He wrote The Mythical Man-Month, a book of essays published in 1975 that detailed lessons he learned from challenges he faced while developing the OS/360.

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How to Stake Electronic Components Using Adhesives

Staking provides extra mechanical support for various electronic parts

2 min read
Adhesive staking of DIP component on a circuit board using Master Bond EP17HTDA-1.

The main use for adhesive staking is to provide extra mechanical support for electronic components and other parts that may be damaged due to vibration, shock, or handling.

Master Bond

This is a sponsored article brought to you by Master Bond.

Sensitive electronic components and other parts that may be damaged due to vibration, shock, or handling can often benefit from adhesive staking. Staking provides additional mechanical reinforcement to these delicate pieces.

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