AI Accelerator Architectures Poised For Big Changes


AI is driving a frenzy of activity in the chip world as companies across the semiconductor ecosystem race to include AI in their product lineup. The challenge now is how to make AI run faster, use less energy, and to be able to leverage it from the edge to the data center — particularly with the rollout of large language models. On the hardware side, there are two main approaches for accel... » read more

DRAM Choices Are Suddenly Much More Complicated


Chipmakers are beginning to incorporate multiple types and flavors of DRAM in the same advanced package, setting the stage for increasingly distributed memory but significantly more complex designs. Despite years of predictions that DRAM would be replaced by other types of memory, it remains an essential component in nearly all computing. Rather than fading away, its footprint is increasing,... » read more

Gearing Up For Hybrid Bonding


Hybrid bonding is becoming the preferred approach to making heterogeneous integration work, as the semiconductor industry shifts its focus from 2D scaling to 3D scaling. By stacking chiplets vertically in direct wafer-to-wafer bonds, chipmakers can leapfrog attainable interconnection pitch from 35µm in copper micro-bumps to 10µm or less. That reduces signal delay to negligible levels and e... » read more

Big Changes Ahead For Photomask Technology


The move to curvilinear shapes on photomasks is gaining steam after years of promise as a way of improving yield, lowering defectivity, and reducing wasted space on a die — all of which are essential for both continued scaling and improved reliability in semiconductors. Interest in this approach ran high at this year's SPIE Photomask Technology + EUV Lithography Conference. Put simply, cur... » read more

Chip Industry Talent Shortage Drives Academic Partnerships


Universities around the world are forming partnerships with semiconductor companies and governments to help fill open and future positions, to keep curricula current and relevant, and to update and expand skills for working engineers. Talent shortages repeatedly have been cited as the number one challenge for the chip industry. Behind those concerns are several key drivers, and many more dom... » read more

RISC-V Wants All Your Cores


RISC-V is no longer content to disrupt the CPU industry. It is waging war against every type of processor integrated into an SoC or advanced package, an ambitious plan that will face stiff competition from entrenched players with deep-pocketed R&D operations and their well-constructed ecosystems. When Calista Redmond, CEO for RISC-V International, said at last year's summit that RISC-V w... » read more

Everyone’s A System Designer With Heterogeneous Integration


The move away from monolithic SoCs to heterogeneous chips and chiplets in a package is accelerating, setting in motion a broad shift in methodologies, collaborations, and design goals that are felt by engineers at every step of the flow, from design through manufacturing. Nearly every engineer is now working or touching some technology, process, or methodology that is new. And they are inter... » read more

Quantum Plus AI Widens Cyberattack Threat Concerns


Quantum computing promises revolutionary changes to the computing paradigm that the semiconductor industry has operated under for decades, but it also raises the prospect of widespread cybersecurity threats. Quantum computing cyberattacks will occur millions of times faster than any assault conventional computing can muster. And while quantum computing is in an early stage of development, ex... » read more

Sweeping Changes For Leading-Edge Chip Architectures


Chipmakers are utilizing both evolutionary and revolutionary technologies to achieve orders of magnitude improvements in performance at the same or lower power, signaling a fundamental shift from manufacturing-driven designs to those driven by semiconductor architects. In the past, most chips contained one or two leading-edge technologies, mostly to keep pace with the expected improvements i... » read more

The Threat Of Supply Chain Insecurity


Concerns about counterfeit chips are growing as more chips are deployed in safety- and mission-critical applications, prompting better traceability and new and inexpensive solutions that can determine if chips are new or used. But some counterfeit chips still slip through, and the problem gets worse wherever there are shortages. Estimates vary widely for how much counterfeiting costs in term... » read more

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