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28nm platforms to accelerate India's transformation

Posted: 12 Jan 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:28nm platform  FPGA  3D packaging  3D IC architecture 

With almost 120 crore people, India is home to 17 per cent of the world's population. In today's global electronics market place, it has not only becoming a key driver of consumer demand but is transforming into a vibrant global hub for R&D.

Given that more than 50 per cent of India's current population is below the age of 25 and its middle class is expected to grow ten-fold in size by 2025, it's a safe bet that this trend will continue as the country's population becomes more urbanized, educated – and connected.

 Moshe Gavrielov

Gavrielov: In electronics space, India is transforming into a vibrant global hub for R&D

In 2012 and beyond, new 28nm programmable platforms hold the promise of accelerating India's transformation, serving as a centrepiece for engineering innovation with domestic and multinational companies to address growing local and global demand for electronic products.

Several long-term economic, market and technological trends are putting pressure on today's design teams to build better systems with fewer chips – faster.

 • Insatiable bandwidth, as exemplified by the explosion in wireless and wire-line traffic due to smart phones, HD video, etc.
 • Ubiquitous connected computing, as signal and/or data processing and connectivity moves into vehicles and cameras and almost every device imaginable, facilitating machine-to-machine communications.
 • Broadening markets, as millions of new consumers demand low cost access to modern conveniences.
 • The programmable imperativetrend towards adoption of flexible reprogrammable devices, due to minimal up-front NRE costs and lower risk compared to R&D-intensive, full custom application-specific devices
Altogether, this presents a daunting challenge: double the bandwidth of existing systems without an increase in power, form factor or cost, and deliver a differentiated product ahead of the competition. Meeting this challenge requires a unique combination of chip-level integration and programmability, something we've dubbed "programmable systems integration."

In 2011, our customers began reaping the benefits of major, multi-year engineering programmes at Xilinx aimed at delivering unprecedented levels of system integration in a new class of 28nm platforms that combine the capacity and customisability of ASICs, flexibility of FPGAs and cost effectiveness of ASSPs.

We're one of a handful of semiconductor companies that's 'all in' with R&D investments of hundreds of millions of dollars to ride the leading edge of the world's most advanced chip-making technology, leverage the advantages of emerging 3D packaging, and create new classes of devices that combine functions never before available in a single component:

Process Technology Innovation: joint development with TSMC on its high performance, low power (HPL) process to exploit increased capacity at smaller geometries while reducing power and cost. The world's first 28nm FPGAs began shipping in March with comparable performance at half the power and cost of the previous generation.

3D Stacked Silicon Interconnect Technology: taking a bold step into the era of 3D-IC based on TSV (through silicon via) technology to achieve 'more than Moore,' resulting in shipments of the world's largest FPGA in October. With a capacity of 2 million logic cells – roughly 20M ASIC gates – some companies will be able to eliminate ASICs altogether and others will use it for ASIC and IP emulation and prototyping. Already, ARM is using Virtex-7 2000T to build prototypes of its next generation multi-core processors that will run at or near full speed.

Extensible Processing Platforms (EPP): combining an industry-standard ARM dual-core processing system with our 28nm programmable logic architecture to deliver unrivaled levels of system performance, flexibility and integration in a new class of system-on-chip that started shipping in December. For some applications, a single Zynq-7000 EPP device can replace a processor, DSP and FPGA.

Agile-Mixed Signal (AMS) Integration: integrating programmable A/D converters and other analogue functions to perform a broad range of AMS functions, ranging from simple sensor monitoring to advanced data acquisition systems.

Heading into 2012, we find ourselves at an exciting crossroads. Our investments in breakthrough programmable systems integration technology are not only shifting the traditional boundaries in the semiconductor industry, but transforming the way systems are designed. India's engineering talent and Xilinx's 'leapfrogging' 28nm technologies have the potential to accelerate the country's transformation into a global R&D hub – and will surely lead to inventive new products over the next several years.

- Moshe Gavrielov
  President & CEO
  Xilinx Inc.

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