Gadge Panesar, our new CEO, has created quite a stir with his first blog post on our website.
I can understand that what Gadge is saying makes uncomfortable reading for some people in the chip industry. He argues that engineers in the semiconductor industry are, to all intents and purposes, making products that they don't understand. Instead of implementing a structured, informed development process, they are indulging in black magic, guesswork and fingerpointing.
The fact is that today’s SoCs are so complicated that no-one truly understands how they work. They combine many different processor blocks sourced from diverse suppliers, and generated in-house; complicated interconnects; and masses of software. This makes for systems that are inherently non-deterministic.
So it's not just that we don't understand how our chips are going to behave: with current approaches we can't understand how they are going to behave. In Gadge’s words, system architects, chip developers and software engineers who tell you otherwise are fooling themselves.
He argues for a radical change in approach, to a system-level view that allows us to answer real questions like "why does my system stall intermittently once every 36 hours of operation"; "where have my MIPS gone?"; and "how long do these DMA transfers really take?"
You can read Gadge’s case in full by visiting the UltraSoC blog. Please do head over there and - agree or disagree - let us know what you think by leaving a comment!