The 3D Printing Revolution


3D printing always has been intriguing. More recently, it has become truly useful. And in the near future, it will become increasingly controversial. There are videos on YouTube documenting entire homes that are being printed in as little as 8 hours, priced as low as $4,000. So while there is a lot of buzz about AI eliminating jobs, 3D printing could add become another significant threat. ... » read more

The Great Chip Shakeup


Facebook, Alibaba, Google, Apple and Samsung are all designing their own chips. So are Cisco and Huawei. So what exactly does this mean for big chipmakers and the semiconductor ecosystem? While your first impulse might be to draw a straight line between Qualcomm's decision to cut 1,500 jobs and reports about giant systems companies developing chips in-house, it's not clear there is any corre... » read more

Smaller, Faster, Cheaper—But Different


The old mantra of "smaller, faster, cheaper" has migrated from the chip level to the electronic system level, raising some interesting questions about where the real value is being generated. Smaller as it pertains to gate size, line widths and spaces, will continue in an almost straight line for at least the next decade. The ability to print three-dimensional features on a nanoscale using E... » read more

Who Will Regulate Technology?


Outside regulation and technological innovation don't mix well, particularly when it comes to modern electronics, but the potential for that kind of oversight is rising. In the past, most of the problems involving regulation stemmed from a lack of understanding about technology and science. This is hardly a new phenomenon. It literally dates back centuries. Galileo was forced to recant helio... » read more

Hedging The Chip Industry


The chip industry has changed significantly since the last big downturn. And while there is no indication a downturn is on the horizon, analysts are beginning to ask questions about what comes next. Inventory is building at systems companies because of weaknesses in some of the key markets such as mobile phones and tablet computers, and there is a growing risk of trade wars due to recently impo... » read more

Preparing For Bigger Changes Ahead


The semiconductor industry has undergone a fundamental shift over the past year, and it's one that will redefine chipmaking over the next decade or more. While the focus is still on building the fastest, lowest-power devices, whether that's by shrinking features or packaging them into blazing-fast 2.5D or fan-out configurations, these devices are being customized for specific use cases much ... » read more

More Volatility Ahead


The entire semiconductor industry had a wild ride on the stock market this week, plunging on Wednesday and recovering on Thursday. This is just a sign of things to come. The cause of this week's volatility can be tied directly to a Morgan Stanley report, which said that NAND prices have peaked and will begin dropping at the beginning of 2018 because supply has caught up with demand. The repo... » read more

Making Machine Learning Portable


Machine learning is everywhere, and it has exploded at a pace no one would have expected. Even a year ago, ML was more of an experiment than a reality. NVIDIA's stock price (Fig. 1, below) is a good representation of just how quickly this market has grown. GPUs are the chip of choice for training machine learning systems. Fig. 1: Nvidia 5-year stock price. Source: Google Finance Ma... » read more

Thinking Much Bigger


For the better part of the past decade the focus has been on integrating an increasing number of smaller components on a piece of silicon. It's time to start thinking much bigger. While there is still plenty of work to be done building more powerful processors, or networks of connected processors on a chip or in a package, new opportunities are opening up in markets such as automotive, medic... » read more

One Belt, One Road


China's so-called One Belt, One Road policy on global trade could have significant repercussions on semiconductors and IP if it succeeds. It's hardly a slam-dunk, and China has been vying for a larger position in the semiconductor industry for some time. But this is a completely different strategy because China is not attempting to go it alone this time. China has been rather quietly build... » read more

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