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Sensors, Data And Machine Learning


Strategies for building reliability into chips and systems are beginning to shift as more sensors are added into these devices and machine learning is applied to that data. In the past, system monitoring relied heavily on MEMS devices for things like acceleration, temperature and positioning (gyroscopes). While those devices are still important, in the past couple years there has been an exp... » read more

Redefining Device Failures


Can a 5nm or 3nm chip really perform to spec over a couple decades? The answer is yes, but not using traditional approaches for designing, manufacturing or testing those chips. At the next few process nodes, all the workarounds and solutions that have been developed since 45nm don't necessarily apply. In the early finFET processes, for example, the new transistor structure provided a huge im... » read more

Test Is Becoming A Horizontal Process


Semiconductor test, once a discrete part of a well-orchestrated series of manufacturing steps, is looking more like a process that extends from the early concept stage in design to the end of life of whatever system that chip ultimately is used for. This has important ramifications for safety-critical markets in general, and the semiconductor industry in particular. Both worlds have been inc... » read more

Making Light More Reliable


The buzz around photonics in packages and between packages is growing. Now the question is whether it will work as expected, and where it will be useful. Replacing electrical with optical signals has been on the technology horizon for some time. Light moves faster through fiber than electrons through copper. How much faster depends upon the diameter of the wires, the substrate and interconne... » read more

Things That Go Bump In The Daytime


There is no argument that autonomous technology is better at certain things than systems controlled by people. A computer-guided system has only one mission — to stay on the road, avoid object, and reach the end destination. It doesn't get tired, text, or look out the window. And it can park within a millimeter of a wall or another vehicle without hitting it, and do that every time — as lon... » read more

Reliability At 5nm And Below


The best way to figure out how a chip or package will age is to bake it in an oven, heat it in a pressure cooker, and stick it in a freezer. Those are all standard methods to accelerate physical effects and the effects of aging, but it's not clear they will continue working as chips shrink to 5nm and 3nm, or as they are included in multi-die packages. Extending any of those kitchen-like appr... » read more

AI’s Blind Spots


The rush to utilize AI/ML in nearly everything and everywhere raises some serious questions about how all of this technology will evolve, age and perform over time. AI is very useful at doing certain tasks, notably finding patterns and relationships in broad data sets that are well beyond the capabilities of the human mind. This is very valuable for adding efficiency into processes of all so... » read more

Big Shift In AI Perception


Artificial intelligence, which has been controversial since its inception, is getting a makeover. While fears about massive job displacement and autonomous killing machines will persist, and maybe even grow, AI is being portrayed as a valuable tool for people who know how to harness its capabilities. Underlying all of this is cheap compute and storage, which has made it possible to draw more... » read more

The Critical But Less Obvious Risks In AI


AI has been the subject of intense debate since it was first introduced back in the mid-1950s, but the real threat is a lot more mundane and potentially even more serious than the fear-inducing picture painted by its critics. Replacing jobs with technology has been a controversial subject for more than a century. AI is a relative newcomer in that debate. While the term "artificial intelligen... » read more

The Great Test Blur


As chip design and manufacturing shift left and right, concerns over reliability are suddenly front and center. But figuring out what exactly what causes a chip to malfunction, or at least not meet specs for performance and power, is getting much more difficult. There are several converging trends here, each of which plays an integral role in improving reliability. But how significant a role... » read more

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