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Emerging IoT needs new design tools

Posted: 14 Sep 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:EDA  IoT  Internet of Things  DARPA  platform-based design 

A Berkeley researcher and veteran of the EDA industry revealed that coordinating the emerging multitude of networked sensors and its services will require a new set of design tools.

"The Internet of Things is just an intermediate step on the way to the sensor dominated world" where the numbers of networked sensors will exceed the population by several orders of magnitude, said Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, a Berkeley professor and co-founder of EDA giants Cadence and Synopsys.

"Complexity is growing in a way unlike we have seen before; everything will be affected by the swarm system and more unpredicted interactions are possible," he said in a talk at a conference hosted by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).


In many respects, tools for the sensor world should mirror the EDA tools used to handle the complexity of billion-transistor chips. However, the sensor world is much more heterogeneous and adds a new critical dimension of time, he said.

"How to handle the issue of time is a deep mathematical problem, and we have done some work on it," he said, referring several times in his talk to the TerraSwarm research group at Berkeley.

Asked about the economics of creating so-called cyber-physical systems, Sangiovanni-Vincentelli said the government could act as a strategic catalyst.

"To make something happen someone has to make big money, but the problem with swarm systems is someone has to build the infrastructure and components first, and they are not necessarily the ones to make the money—the money is made in the applications," he said.

"The end devices have to cost a few cents each, so how can you make money from that? Another question is who will build the infrastructure... DARPA can play a role as an independent partner to coalesce people and help build the infrastructure," he added.

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