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
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.