The Road To 5nm

There is strong likelihood that enough companies will move to 7nm to warrant the investment. How many will move forward to 5nm is far less certain. Part of the reason for this uncertainty is big-company consolidation. There are simply fewer customers left who can afford to build chips at the most advanced nodes. Intel bought Altera. Avago bought Broadcom. NXP bought Freescale. GlobalFoundrie... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Chipmakers IC Insights released its top chip makers in terms of sales for the first quarter of 2016. The top-20 ranking includes three pure-play foundries (TSMC, GlobalFoundries, and UMC) and six fabless companies. Intel remained in the top spot, followed in order by Samsung and TSMC. The biggest movers in the ranking were made by the new Broadcom (Avago/Broadcom) and Nvidia. Broadcom jumped f... » read more

Toward Better Acoustic Resonators

After some lively conversations with the top researchers in MEMS acoustic resonators during the 2014 Sensors and Actuators Workshop (familiarly known to the MEMS community as “Hilton Head”), we set to work on a simulation solution to better serve researchers and commercial designers. Acoustic resonators for RF filtering have received a lot of attention in the past few years as the number... » read more

A Formal Transformation

A very important change is underway in functional verification. In the past, this was an esoteric technology and one that was difficult to deploy. It was relegated to tough problems late in the verification cycle, and it was difficult to justify the ROI unless the technology actually did find some problems. But all of that has changed. Formal verification companies started to use the technology... » read more

Why Use A Package?

Subramanian Iyer, distinguished chancellor's professor in UCLA's Electrical Engineering Department—and a former fellow and director of the systems scaling technology department at IBM—sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about the future of chip scaling. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Advanced packaging is being viewed as a way to extend scaling in the fut... » read more

Consolidation’s Aftermath

The recent spate of industry consolidation continues to have repercussions across the semiconductor industry. Some of those effects will subside once the deals are either approved or nixed by regulatory agencies. Others will raise questions for months or years to come. Consolidation is not a new trend in the semiconductor industry, but the pace and size of the acquisitions in the past year a... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing

IC Insights released its preliminary top IC rankings in terms of sales for 2015. In the rankings, Intel remains in first place in terms of chip sales in 2015, followed by Samsung and TSMC. GlobalFoundries and UMC also moved up in the rankings. Beyond that, the market is in flux. “The pending mergers of Avago and Broadcom and NXP and Freescale will have a significant impact on future top-20 ra... » read more

The Great IoE Race Begins

Nobody knows how many tens of billions of semiconductors will be used in the IoE, but it's a sure bet it won't be a few chips replicated billions of times. Most IoE devices will need to be customized for specific applications. Many will need to be highly reliable for many years. And all of them will need to be secure and power-efficient. Yet they also will need to connect to heterogeneous ne... » read more

The Price Of Consolidation

Consolidation is causing far-reaching changes across the global semiconductor ecosystem due to the size of companies being bought and the dearth of startups to replenish those being acquired. Coupled with the rising cost and difficulty of shrinking features down to advanced process nodes—many argue that is the largest driver of consolidation—the market dynamics for who's buying IP, EDA t... » read more

Getting Paid More

Consolidation is a regular news item in the semiconductor industry, and has been for years, but most of those deals have been relatively small. What's changing is the amount of consolidation involving big companies, fueled partly by a massive M&A fund in China, partly by an arms race in preparation for the IoE, and partly by the kind of thinking that if other companies are doing it, it's dan... » read more

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