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In This Issue - August 1997 Volume 48 Issue 4

CURRENT ISSUE - August 1997 Volume 48 Issue 4 In the last couple of years we have had the opportunity to chronicle the evolution of design and development efforts associated with HP's newest microprocessors based on the PA-RISC architecture. The HP PA 8000 and PA 8200 microprocessors are the latest entries in this continuing evolution. The HP PA 8000 is the first HP processor to implement PA RISC 2.0 and the first capable of 64-bit operation. Among the features included in the HP PA 8000 are four-way superscalar processors and mechanisms for out-of-order execution, which maximize instruction-level parallelism. Article 1 provides a brief overview PA RISC 2.0 and describes the key architectural features, implementation details, and system performance attributes of these new microprocessors.

Like all processor designs, design for the HP PA 8000 microprocessor involved a series of trade-offs between die area, complexity, performance, speed, power use, and design time. Article 2 discusses these trade-offs and the design methodologies used for the HP PA 8000 processor.

Because the advanced-microarchitecture PA 8000 microprocessor has so many new features, functional verification to identify defects that might cause the microprocessor to deviate from its specified behavior was quite a challenge. Article 3 describes the process and the tools involved in functional verification for the HP PA 8000 microprocessor.

Once it is verified that a processor will perform according to its specifications, the next step is to characterize its behavior when it is pushed beyond its normal operating conditions. This process is called electrical verification, and its use for the HP PA 8000 is described in Article 4. The article describes how shmoo plots are used to help analyze the results of varying different parameters, such as voltage and temperature, and the debugging effort that follows the discovery of an anomaly during shmoo testing. The layout of the interconnect metal for the HP PA 8000 required some new block routing technologies. These technologies are embodied in a tool called PA_Route, which is described in Article 5.

Telephone service today is more than just the transport of speech information some distance over telephone lines. Advancements in communications technology and deregulation in the telecommunications industry have meant the presence of more service providers competing to offer a wider range of services other than just voice transport. As a result of all these changes telephone networks have to be more "intelligent" than they were in the past. Article 6 describes the HP OpenCall product, which is a collection of computer-based telecommunications platforms designed to offer a foundation for telephony services based on intelligent networks. The advanced telephony services offered today are carried on a separate signaling network from the voice transmission. Article 7 describes the HP OpenCall SS7 platform, which allows customers to build signaling applications connected to the SS7 (Signaling System #7) signaling network. System reliability is something that customers connected to large-scale networks take for granted. Article 8 discusses active/standby feature provided in HP OpenCall for achieving fault tolerance and high availability.

Because modern chemical analysis laboratories are so packed with instrumentation and other paraphernalia, an instrument that provides some space economy is a big plus. Article 9 describes the first benchtop inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer, the HP 4500. This instrument is one fifth the size of previous models and is small and light enough to be installed on an existing bench. The HP 4500 has a new type of optics system which allows the instrument to perform analysis down to the subnanogram-per-liter or parts-per-trillion (ppt) level. The application areas for the HP 4500 include the semiconductor industry, environmental studies, laboratory research, and plant quality control.

Another essential aspect of a chemical analysis laboratory is the collection of data. With the array of instruments creating data and the requirements of many regulatory agencies, data collection in laboratories has become quite critical. Fortunately, many of today's laboratory instruments are automated and connected to computer systems, making data collection a little easier. The problem is how to organize and store this data. The article on page describes an object database management system that is used in the HP ChemStudy product for archiving and retrieving large amounts of complex historical laboratory data. Article 10 describes how historical data is managed and the mechanisms provided in the object DBMS for managing this data.

One of the features of Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) network technology is that it can satisfy the quality-of-service needs of many different types of network traffic. To provide this level of service, the ATM network must avoid network congestion, which causes unacceptable delays and data loss. Policing the network is one of the key mechanisms used by ATM to avoid congestion. Policing is responsible for monitoring the network to find potential congestion connections. If such a connection is found, policing can discard traffic from that connection. Given the importance of policing, it is essential that the equipment responsible for doing the policing be thoroughly tested. The HP E4223A (Article 11 ), is an application that is designed to test policing implementations in ATM switches before the switches are deployed for commercial service. The article describes network policing and explains how the HP E4223A works to test policing in ATM switches.

The articles starting with Article 12, are the last papers we have from HP's Design Technology Conference of 1996. The first paper (Article 12 ) explores the concept of using MOSFET scaling parameters, such as channel length and gate oxide thickness, to extrapolate scaling parameters for future MOSFET devices. The second paper (Article 13) discusses using clock dithering as an on-chip technique to reduce EMI. The paper surveys information from organizations inside and outside HP that have used clock dithering and frequency modulation as an EMI reduction technique. The third paper (Article 14 ) describes a project in which a third-party microprocessor design was ported via its hardware description language (HDL) specification instead of the traditional artwork port. This approach has the advantages of allowing the processor to be optimized for HP's design process. The fourth paper (Article 15 ) describes circuit design techniques and design trade-offs that were employed to design a 3V operational amplifier in the HP CMOS14 process. The last paper (Article 16 ) analyzes the affects of lids on heat transfer in flip-chip packages. The results from this analysis showed that although a lidless design shows better performance, more research is needed.

C.L. Leath
Managing Editor

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