Challenges for embedded system industry

We will see tectonic shifts

21. Juni 2022, 6:00 Uhr | Ravi Subramanian
© Mentor

Processors are the central component of every embedded system. In the past, semiconductor manufacturers dominated the market with microcontrollers and standard processors. Now more and more system manufacturers are starting to develop their own SoCs with processor cores – the market will change.

Embedded world is a truly world-class event, supporting the exchange of ideas and information that will fuel innovation across an array of the most compelling and impactful technologies today — AI/ML at the network’s edge, distributed intelligence, the Internet of Things, energy efficiency, sustainability and much more.

While these technologies and trends may be disparate, they share a common thread: each one relies on the availability of increasingly powerful, sophisticated and energy efficient processors.

Siemens EDA is a leading provider of solutions spanning, IC, PCB, and system design. These solutions are critical to enable our customers to deliver a steady pipeline of innovative, higher-performing, lower power ICs with rapidly increasing capabilities to the embedded design community.

Our customers in the embedded world are facing significant challenges as the pressures to innovate faster accelerate. We can frame the key challenges in the context of three tectonic shifts that they are facing today:

  • the unprecedented complexity possible using Moore’s Law and More-than-Moore technologies (see below),
  • the dramatic increase in the number of systems companies now designing their own ICs in-house,
  • and the profound impact that software workloads and AI are having on the nature of designing embedded systems.

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Ravi-Subramanian von Siemens-EDA
Ravi Subramanian is the Senior Vice-President responsible for all IC Verification at Siemens Digital Industry Software. This business is focused on ensuring systems and semiconductor customers are able to confidently ship electronic products to market in the fastest amount of time via the use of software- and hardware-assisted verification and validation techniques.
© Mentor_Siemens EDA

I’m pleased to report that the rumors of Moore’s Law’s death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, Moore’s Law – the 1960’s era prediction that capacity (transistor counts) will double every two years – is very much alive and well. Of course, it hasn’t been easy, but over the last 10 years, the evolution of new semiconductor device technologies (gate-all-around, nanosheets) and a concept called »More Than Moore« has allowed Moore’s Law to keep pace. In addition, a host of emerging technologies and techniques like novel memories, 3D integration and photonic on-chip interconnects have also fueled the possibility to build integrated systems with astounding complexity in a chip. In fact, More-Than-Moore holds the potential to enable 10× increases in system scaling, which bodes well for the continuation of Moore’s Law moving forward.

Ten years ago, systems companies represented just 1 % of global semiconductor fab capacity by revenue. Today systems companies represent up to 25 % of global fab capacity by revenue, while often being the very first chips produced at each new process node. As domain-specific semiconductor solutions become increasingly necessary to build powerful, intelligent, and sustainable solutions for vertical markets, systems companies are increasingly looking to design their own chips in particular target markets. This trend is driving accelerated spending on design and verification solutions that help to manage the large-scale system-level complexity.

Finally, it should come as no surprise that software workloads and AI technology are transforming and fueling business value creation in almost every industry, and perhaps nowhere more than in the semiconductor space. Our customers are no longer simply creating chips for embedded systems that run a function, we are creating chips that sense, learn, process data to provide insights, and then decide. In fact, we are seeing the combinatorial effects of new technologies – big data, IoT, cloud and AI ­– driving rapid changes in the capabilities of the devices we use and the services we can now leverage for the benefit of our IC design customers.

Siemens is pleased to once again participate in-person at embedded world 2022, where we look forward to a robust exchange of ideas with our customers, partners and suppliers. We wish all embedded world attendees a safe, productive and stimulating show.

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