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ESC-Asia, EDA&T-Taiwan a show of island's resilience

Posted: 28 Jul 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:esc-asia? eda&t-taiwan? soc? circuit? logic?

Taiwan's design ascend in the electronics food chain seems official on the floor of the 4th annual Embedded System Conference - Asia (ESC-Asia) and the 12th Electronics Design Automation & Test - Taiwan (EDA&T-Taiwan) Conference & Exhibition (July 28-29, 2004), displaying yet another show of resilience of the island's technology prudence in the emerging electronics landscape.

The legions of EEs assembled at the Lakeshore Hotel, Hsinchu, were mulling over the predominant design shift from circuit and logic to system-design, where system-on-chip (SoC) is becoming the name of the game.

The events organized by eMedia Asia Ltd, a joint venture of Global Sources and CMP Media LLC, is expected to attract more than 3,000 Taiwan engineers.

The principal theme was how SoC value-add can boost Taiwan designers' fortunes amid a clear shift from maturing computing products to greener pastures in wireless and digital consumer space. That was also the focus of the opening EDA&T forum "Understanding the Next Phase of Taiwan's IC Design Roadmap" moderated by Joseph Ting, corporate senior VP of Etron Technology, with featured speakers from Synopsys, Via Technologies and Socle Technology.

The ESC-Asia forum, "Powering Next-Generation Embedded Devices" is moderated by EE Times - Taiwan managing editor Karen Kou, featured experts from MontaVista Software, Wind River and Renesas.

'MCU does everything'

In line with the SoC predominant theme, Sharp announced two reference designs for low-to-medium level portable media players, handheld video players, picture books and audio jukeboxes.

Sharp also demonstrated its ARM-based BlueStreak family of 16bit and 32bit MCUs and SoCs along with development kits specifically designed for these devices.

"We are targeting LCD-centric rich media applications for our MCUs so Sharp can leverage the existing customer relationships in the display segment," said Chris Chene, senior director of IC marketing at Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas. "In this case, MCU and SoC are practically the same entity. As for low and medium-level media players, you don't need a separate DSP. MCU does everything from coding/decoding and OS handling," Chene added.

Sharp's MCUs will cater to QC and QVGA resolutions for low-end media players, which Chene reckons will eventually replace MP3 players.

Vendor seminars

A number of vendor seminars provided a hands-on view of the inner workings of embedded-, chip- and system-level design. LogicVision Inc., along with its Asia-Pacific representative, Siprox Corp., demonstrated logic and memory BIST solutions for silicon debug.

The discussion outlined how these technologies impact debug turnaround time and the ability to identify failure modes, issues not typically addressed by standard DFM methodologies, LogicVision spokesman said.

Other companies hosting vendor seminars included Agilent Technologies, Mentor Graphics, Philips Semiconductor, SafeNet and Virage Logic.

In addition to vendor seminars, the latest EDA and test tools were being showcased, including Ansoft Designer and EverCAD's full-chip circuit simulation and analysis tool suit. Other featured products included Faraday's array of semiconductor IP and Metrowerks' CodeWarrior family of software and hardware development tools.

- Majeed Ahmad

Electronic Engineering Times - Asia

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