The Importance Of Layering Data

The chip industry generates enormous quantities of data, from design through manufacturing, but much of it is unavailable or incomplete. And even when and where it is available, it is frequently under-utilized. While there has been much work done in terms of establishing traceability and data formats, the cross-pollination of data between companies and between equipment makers at various pro... » read more

The Everything New Syndrome

Technology is all about the latest features, the fastest processing, with the lowest power. While that sounds great in marketing pitch, any or all of those factors don't necessarily equate to a better product or long-term user satisfaction. There's a reason semiconductor companies are conservative by nature. They want to know that when they spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on a ... » read more

3 Technologies That Will Challenge Test

As chips are deployed in more complex systems and with new technologies, it's not clear exactly what chipmakers and systems vendors will be testing. The standard tests for voltage, temperature and electrical throughput still will be needed, of course. But that won't be sufficient to ensure that sensor fusion, machine learning, or millimeter wave 5/6G will be functioning properly. Each of tho... » read more

Recalculating The Cost Of Test

The cost of test is rising. For decades, test was limited to a flat 2% of the cost of designing and manufacturing a chip. Today, no one is quite sure what that cost really is, and there doesn't seem to be any single formula for determining it. In some cases, there isn't even a sense of urgency to finding out. Several significant changes are occurring that make any formula difficult to cal... » read more

The Other Side Of AI System Reliability

Adding intelligence into pervasive electronics will have consequences, but not necessarily what most people expect. Nearly everything electronic these days has some sort of "smart" functionality built in or added on. This can be as simple as a smoke alarm that alerts you when the batteries are running low, a home assistant that learns your schedule and dials the thermostat up or down, or a r... » read more

What Do Feedback Loops For AI/ML Devices Really Show?

AI/ML is being designed into an increasing number of chips and systems these days, but predicting how they will behave once they're in the field is, at best, a good guess. Typically, verification, validation, and testing of systems is done before devices reach the market, with an increasing amount of in-field data analysis for systems where reliability is potentially mission- or safety-criti... » read more

Why AI Systems Are So Hard To Predict

AI can do many things, but how to ensure that it does the right things is anything but clear. Much of this stems from the fact that AI/ML/DL systems are built to adapt and self-optimize. With properly adjusted weights, training algorithms can be used to make sure these systems don't stray too far from the starting point. But how to test for that, in the lab, the fab and in the field is far f... » read more

Predicting Reliability At 3/2nm And Beyond

The chip industry is determined to manufacture semiconductors at 3/2nm — and maybe even beyond — but it's unlikely those chips will be the complex all-in-one SoCs that have defined advanced electronics over the past decade or so. Instead, they likely will be one of many tiles in a system that define different functions, the most important of which are highly specialized for a particular app... » read more

Selective Redundancy In Cars

The automotive industry has been fish-tailing its way through design strategies and electronics architectures, but it finally appears to be honing in on a strategy that actually might work. This doesn't mean fully autonomous vehicles will take over the road anytime soon, but at least it points carmakers in the right direction. The auto industry has been in panic mode ever since Tesla, Waymo,... » read more

Reliability Over Time And Space

The demand for known good die is well understood as multi-chip packages are used in safety-critical and mission-critical applications, but that alone isn't sufficient. As chips are swapped in and out of packages to customize them for specific applications, it will be the entire module that needs to be verified, simulated and tested, and analyzed. This is more complicated than it sounds for s... » read more

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