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ARM Preps Near-Threshold Processor for IoT

8/15/2013 09:50 AM EDT
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rick merritt
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Significant enabler/differentiator
rick merritt   8/15/2013 10:38:31 AM
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This couldd be a significant enabler/differentiator, perfect for ARM.

Not clear if they will have any particular time-to-market or design advantage yet.

The first tine I heard about near-threshold voltage work it was an Intel research paper. Also, there were many papers from many places on this topic at ISSCC earlier this year.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Significant enabler/differentiator
Peter Clarke   8/15/2013 10:53:03 AM
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I included a link to the IMEC/Holst work reported at ISSCC this year.

Toumaz Ltd. is one company that has been doing this sort of design for some time, but as Muller pointed out, right now they have to take all the risk in terms of getting integrated circuits to work.

Any problems and the foundry simply says they are outside the specified range of the process.

 

Tom Murphy
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Re: Significant enabler/differentiator
Tom Murphy   8/16/2013 11:26:54 AM
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This is very interesting in that it suggests the first signs of a new wave that would be likely to sweep across the entire chip industry.   As I recall, analysts are predicting billions of sensors as the iOT takes shape. ARM is clearly staking its claim here. It's fascinating to see this thinking on how the processors will be powered.

elctrnx_lyf
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Re: Goon info
elctrnx_lyf   8/16/2013 8:18:33 AM
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Do we really need a new set of micro controllers to enable the IoT products? Even with the new set of micro controllers we stilll need other components that need to be operated at lower voltages.

krisi
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finally
krisi   8/16/2013 1:56:25 PM
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CMOS research community has been waiting for such a device for a long time, see you all the paers pubslihsed in J Solid State Ckts...bravo ARM!

goafrit
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Re: Goon info
goafrit   8/18/2013 3:17:44 PM
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>>  very low-power microcontroller core for the Internet of Things (IoT) and other embedded applications.

Do we not have these things already? Alibaba has a TV that helps you shop, watch TV, play games, surf web. They call it Rainbow. This exists already. I am surprised what the deal is here. The IoT is nothing but embedded systems with internal protocol and we have been in that game for long.

KB3001
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Re: Goon info
KB3001   8/19/2013 6:36:03 AM
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Really @goafrit, this is what you understand by IoT? a smart TV? We are talking about extremely low power devices that are not plugged into the mains, devices that are capable of scavanging power from solar power, vibration etc.

goafrit
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Re: Goon info
goafrit   8/19/2013 12:25:30 PM
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Thanks for the correction.  I used to think it means anything that can be conneced to the Internet - wired or otherwise, plugged or otherwise. In short, once it has TCIP, it qualifies for IoT as it will have a protocol for net connection. The pacemakers, the dishwashers, etc will be IoT once they are node connections to the web.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Goon info
Peter Clarke   8/27/2013 6:42:48 AM
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To me the distinction is whether the Internet dialog is prompted by human action or is autonomous. 

Where it is human action...a smart TV or a PC going out to the internet to fetch pages etc..download books, do shopping....it is the conventional Internet.

Where it is "machines" making that decision autonomously....such as when billions of electronic motes are distrbuted in paint....and then sun bathe for energy and link up to form a smart skin network...and report back via the internet...all without human intervention, then it is the internet of things.

 

 

ErrantOne
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re: ARM.....IoT
ErrantOne   8/21/2013 11:55:52 AM
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It's nice that ARM is talking/thinking about this but Intel demo'ed something a couple years ago, Claremont

http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/15/intel-reveals-claremont-near-threshold-voltage-processor-othe/

Research is great, but until there is an actual product it's all just marketing fodder for news sites.

Peter Clarke
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re: ARM.....IoT
Peter Clarke   8/27/2013 6:37:03 AM
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Nice catch 

Have to admit I had never heard of "Claremont"

Did it ever get to market?

 

 

ahmadbd
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Leakage current
ahmadbd   8/21/2013 1:55:03 PM
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I just hope they keep an eye on leakage current during "power down", otherwise it will be all a waste of time and effort.

eewiz
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Ambiq micro
eewiz   8/22/2013 4:18:47 AM
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ARM previously invested in this University of Michigan startup Ambiq (http://ambiqmicro.com/) doing sub threshold CPU core design. Any idea whether this is ARM's own design or Ambiq's design?

 

Peter Clarke
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Re: Ambiq micro
Peter Clarke   8/27/2013 6:05:33 AM
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Nice spot on Ambiq

I did speak to Ambiq a couple of years back when they seemed to be pressing the brakes a little bit on the sub-threshold stuff.

However, they now have their Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT) offering. But it is noticeable that Muller appears to prefer near-threshold.

Sanjib.A
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Noise margin @ Low voltage?
Sanjib.A   8/25/2013 11:50:49 AM
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I think significant amount of research work will be done and no doubt that experts are working towards solutions for low power hungry processors for IoT. But the low voltage stuff scares me a bit as at low voltage, noise margin also reduces greatly...a slightly noisy environment could cause a lot a susceptibility issues. Energy scavenging thing interests me a lot better.   

Peter Clarke
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Re: Noise margin @ Low voltage?
Peter Clarke   8/27/2013 6:08:13 AM
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Good point on noise margin.

You may end up trading off low power against redundant circuits to try and build in robustness. And of course those redundant circuits (for voting or whatever) will consume power thereby reducing the low power benefit.

What about putting such circuits in a tin can?

Sanjib.A
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Re: Noise margin @ Low voltage?
Sanjib.A   8/27/2013 11:30:36 AM
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True, that could be protected by putting it in a tin can well connected to a ground (earth). :)

Again I am sure that the guys are taking care of that well.

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