Why Fabs Worry About Tool Parts


Achieving high yields with acceptable costs is becoming much more difficult as chipmakers migrate to next-generation 3D NAND and finFET devices—but not just because of rising complexity or lithography issues. To fabricate an advanced logic chip, for example, a wafer moves from one piece of equipment to another in what amounts to 1,000 process steps or more in a fab. Any glitch with the equ... » read more

Using Data To Improve Yield


Semiconductor manufacturers are always looking for an edge to improve operating efficiency and to increase yields on chip lots. For some, the answers include big data analytics, as well as technology to move that data around more quickly. Chipmakers, board assemblers, and related businesses are turning to the Internet of Things, especially [getkc id="78" kc_name="Industrial IoT"] technology... » read more

What Is Spin Torque MRAM?


The memory market is going in several different directions at once. On one front, the traditional memory types, such as DRAM and flash, remain the workhorse technologies. Then, several vendors are readying the next-generation memory types. As part of an ongoing series, Semiconductor Engineering will explore where the new and traditional memory technologies are heading. For this segment, P... » read more

How Reliable Are FinFETs?


Stringent safety requirements in the automotive and industrial sectors are forcing chipmakers to re-examine a number of factors that can impact reliability over the lifespan of a device. Many of these concerns are not new. Electrical overstress (EOS), electrostatic discharge (ESD) and [getkc id="160" kc_name="electromigration"] (EM) are well understood, and have been addressed by EDA tools f... » read more

Auto Suppliers: More Than Chips


The semiconductor industry is revving up its present and future contributions to advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous driving. Those areas represent tremendous growth opportunities for chips, modules, and software going into automotive electronics. There’s also the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning applications in automotive design, which are brand new c... » read more

Applying Machine Learning


Sundari Mitra, co-founder and CEO of NetSpeed Systems, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss machine learning, training algorithms, what customers are struggling with today, and how startups fare in an increasingly consolidated semiconductor industry. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Machine learning is booming. How will this change design? Mitra: This is a... » read more

Using CNNs To Speed Up Systems


Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are becoming one of the key differentiators in system performance, reversing a decades-old trend that equated speed with processor clock frequencies, the number of transistors, and the instruction set architecture. Even with today's smartphones and PCs, it's difficult for users to differentiate between processors with 6, 8 or 16 cores. But as the amount o... » read more

Is Design Innovation Slowing?


Paul Teich, principal analyst for Tirias Research, gave a provocative talk at the recent DAC conference entitled, "Is Integration Leaving Less Room for Design Innovation?" The answer isn't as simple as the question might suggest. "Integration used to be a driver for increasing the functionality of silicon," Teich said. "Increasingly, it will be used to incorporate more features of an entire ... » read more

IP Challenges Ahead


The revenue from semiconductor [getkc id="43" kc_name="IP"] has risen steadily to become the largest segment of the EDA industry. Industry forecasts expect it to keep growing at a CAGR of more than 10% for the next decade. Part one of this article examined the possibility those forecasts are wrong and that large semiconductor companies are likely to start bringing IP development back in hous... » read more

The Rising Value Of Data


The volume of data being generated by a spectrum of devices continues to skyrocket. Now the question is what can be done with that data. By Cisco's estimates, traffic on the Internet will be 3.3 zetabytes per year by 2021, up from 1.2 zetabytes in 2016. And if that isn't enough, the flow of data isn't consistent. Traffic on the busiest 60-minute period in a day increased 51% in 2016, compare... » read more

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