The Next Wave Of Consolidation


End markets and technologies are changing, stock prices are up, and interest rates are down. Those are the necessary ingredients for acquisition binging. So why isn't much happening? The answer is that more industry consolidation is ahead, but it's all happening more slowly than the economics would suggest. Some of the reasons are obvious, others less so. The big delay is the COVID-19 pa... » read more

Getting Particular About Partitioning


Partitioning could well be one of the most important and pervasive trends since the invention of computers. It has been around for almost as long, too. The idea dates back at least as far back as the Manhattan Project during World War II, when computations were wrapped within computations. It continued from there with what we know as time-sharing, which rather crudely partitioned access by p... » read more

Rethinking Competitive One Upmanship Among Foundries


The winner in the foundry business used to be determined by who got to the most advanced process node first. For the most part that benchmark no longer works. Unlike in the past, when all of the foundries and IDMs competed using basically the same process, each foundry has gone its own route. This is primarily due to the divergence of end markets, and the realization that as costs increase, ... » read more

Globalization And Regionalization Of Knowledge


Anyone who has clicked on the chat feature on virtual conferences may have noticed the striking mix of nationalities logging in. The explosion of these conferences, as well as video calls, has opened the door for engineers at all levels — from students to industry veterans — to exchange ideas on a global scale. In the past, companies would send a handful of their employees to conferences... » read more

An Eye For An AI


AI comes in multiple forms and flavors. The challenge is choosing the right one for the right purpose, and recognizing that just because AI can be applied to a particular process or problem doesn't mean it should be. While AI has been billed as a ideal solution for just about every problem, there are three primary requirements for a successful application. First, there needs to be sufficient q... » read more

A Node Too Far?


Physics is an unforgiving master. While the semiconductor industry has been actively developing new transistor structures, new materials for interconnects and lining trenches, and new approaches to alleviate congestion at the lowest metal levels, it also has been playing an accelerating game of Whac-a-Mole. Whenever a problem pops up, the solution to that problem is never complete and more prob... » read more

What’s Changing, What Isn’t


The global pandemic is creating economic chaos on a global scale. The big question now is when the coronavirus is brought under control, and just how long its effects will extend beyond the current health crisis. For the semiconductor industry, which has weathered many long and deep financial swings, this one at least is finite. When the virus stops spreading, or when treatments are availabl... » read more

Chip Design Is Getting Squishy


So many variables, uncertainties and new approaches are in play today across the chip industry today that previous rules are looking rather dated. In the past, a handful of large companies or organizations set the rules for the industry and established an industry roadmap. No such roadmap exists today. And while there are efforts underway to create new roadmaps for different industries, inte... » read more

Chips, Business And The Coronavirus


In the spring of 2003, the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) hit China and Hong Kong, creating such panic that no one would touch crates on shipping docks. Ultimately, it erased an estimated $40 billion from the global economy and effectively shut down the Chinese semiconductor industry for several months. It could have been much worse, though, and this is what is particularly troubli... » read more

What Will AI Look Like In 10 Years?


There's no such thing as reverse in AI systems. Once they are let loose, they do what they were programmed to do — optimize results within a given set of parameters. But today there is no consistency for those parameters. There are no standards by which to measure how AI deviates over time. And there is an expectation, at least today, that AI systems will adapt to whatever patterns they di... » read more

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