Intel, And Others, Inside

Intel this week made a strong case for how it will regain global process technology leadership, unfurling an aggressive technology and business roadmap that includes everything from several more process node shrinks that ultimately could scale into the single-digit angstrom range to a broad shift in how it approaches the market. Both will be essential for processing the huge amount of data for ... » read more

Who Will Regulate Data Exchanges In Chiplets?

Scaling is still important when it comes to logic and low power, but it's no longer the main avenue for improving performance. What used to be a single chip, comprised of various IP blocks and components on a single SoC, is giving way to a heterogeneous collection of chiplets — at least for the big chipmakers and system companies at the leading edge. Chiplets are currently the best solutio... » read more

The Next Chip Shortages?

The rollout of chiplets and heterogeneous designs could have unexpected implications on a global scale, creating a whole new round of chip shortages that will be much harder to fix. It's impossible to say for certain what will happen here in the wake of massive changes in chip design and a fluid and unpredictable geopolitical situation. The trade war between the United States and China began... » read more

A Sputnik Moment For Chips

Chip shortages are the new Sputnik moment, and they have created a sense of national and regional panic not seen since the days of the Cold War. For both the United States and Europe, those shortages have sparked some of the largest technology investments by government in the past half-century that are not strictly for the military — and by far the biggest involving semiconductors. Whi... » read more

Technical Papers: Organized, Timely, And Relevant

Engineers and scientists from every discipline linked to semiconductors have been struggling for years to find good research papers about trends and topics they care about, and the situation is only getting worse as the technology becomes more complex and the supply chain becomes more diverse and distributed. There are a slew of new issues in manufacturing, packaging, and design, and there a... » read more

Behind The Intel-GlobalFoundries Rumor

A Wall Street Journal report that Intel is looking to buy GlobalFoundries has sparked discussions across the industry. But what exactly this would mean, and why now versus a couple years ago, needs some context. There are layers upon layers of irony behind this would-be deal, and it dates back decades to some rather famous encounters. Consider former AMD CEO Jerry Sanders' 1991 comment that ... » read more

Structural Integrity Of Chips

A new challenge is on the horizon, and it's one that could have some interesting consequences for chip design — structural integrity. Ever since the introduction of finFETs and 3D NAND, the lines have been blurring between electrical and mechanical engineering. After some initial reports of fins collapsing or breaking, and variable distances between layers, chipmakers figured out how to so... » read more

Rethinking The Scaling Mantra

What makes a new chip better than a previous version, or a competitor's version, has been changing for some time. In most cases the key metrics are still performance and power, but what works for one application or use case increasingly is different from another. Advancements are rarely tied just to process nodes these days. Even the most die-hard proponents of Moore's Law recognize that the... » read more

How Secure Is The Package?

Advanced packaging is a viable way of extending the benefits of Moore's Law without the excessive cost of shrinking everything to fit on a single die, but it also raises some issues about security for which there are no clear answers at the moment. OSATs and foundries have been working the kinks out of how to put the pieces together in the most cost-effective and reliable way for the better ... » read more

Moore’s Law Enters The 4th Dimension

The basic idea that more transistors are better hasn't changed in more than half a century. In fact, the overriding theme of a number of semiconductor conferences this month is that we will never have enough compute capability or storage capacity. In the past, when the number of transistors in a given area actually did double every 18 to 24 months, increasing density per square millimeter fo... » read more

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