By Ron Wilson, Editor-in-Chief, Altera Corporation
It is getting increasingly difficult to attend a conference without seeing and hearing way too much of terms like Internet of Things (IoT) and Wearable Computing. But please keep reading. Submerged somewhere in the debate over whether there will be 20 billion or 40 billion IoT devices in five years, an unexpected fatality has gone unmarked. Dead as the proverbial doornail is the assumption that the newest semiconductor technology on the market is the best process technology for your next design. That idea perished an accidental victim of the IoT avalanche.
Nothing could illustrate this unlamented passing more clearly than the recent TSMC Ecosystem Forum in Silicon Valley. Along with updates on 20, 16, and 10 nm processes, the giant foundry’s executives announced no less than five new low-power processes based on older geometries, reaching clear back to 180 nm. Why—and why so many? These questions frame a new reality in small-system design.
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