Challenges Grow For Finding Chip Defects


Several equipment makers are developing or ramping up a new class of wafer inspection systems that address the challenges in finding defects in advanced chips. At each node, the feature sizes of the chips are becoming smaller, while the defects are harder to find. Defects are unwanted deviations in chips, which impact yield and performance. The new inspection systems promise to address the c... » read more

Magnetic Memories Reach For Center Stage


Wearable heart rate sensors. Networked smoke detectors. Smart lighting. Smart doorbells. While desktop computers and even smartphones are powerful standalone tools, Internet of Things devices share a need to collect data from the environment, store it, and transmit it to some other device for action or further analysis. In many systems, data storage and working memory account for the majorit... » read more

Using Machine Learning In Fabs


Amid the shift towards more complex chips at advanced nodes, many chipmakers are exploring or turning to advanced forms of machine learning to help solve some big challenges in IC production. A subset of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, uses advanced algorithms in systems to recognize patterns in data as well as to learn and make predictions about the information. In the fab, ... » read more

Why DRAM Won’t Go Away


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to talk about DRAM's future with Frank Ferro, senior director of product management at Rambus; Marc Greenberg, group director for product marketing at Cadence; Graham Allan, senior product marketing manager for DDR PHYs at Synopsys; and Tien Shiah, senior manager for memory marketing at Samsung Electronics. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. Part ... » read more

EDA Revenue Up 6.6% For Q2


Highlighted by double digit growth in semiconductor IP and the Asia/Pacific region, EDA industry revenue increased 6.6% for Q2 2019 to $2,472.1 million, compared to $2,318.5 million in Q2 2018, according to the ESD Alliance Market Statistics Service. The four-quarters moving average, which compares the most recent four quarters to the prior four quarters, increased by 6%, which represented a... » read more

Mixed Picture Seen For EUV Masks


The confidence level of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography continues to grow as the technology moves into production, but the EUV mask infrastructure remains a mixed picture, according to new surveys released by the eBeam Initiative. The EUV mask infrastructure involves several technologies that are in various stages of development. On one front, the outlook for several mask tool technol... » read more

FPGA Design Tradeoffs Getting Tougher


FPGAs are getting larger, more complex, and significantly harder to verify and debug. In the past, FPGAs were considered a relatively quick and simple way to get to market before committing to the cost and time of developing an ASIC. But today, both FPGAs and eFPGAs are being used in the most demanding applications, including cloud computing, AI, machine learning, and deep learning. In some ... » read more

3D Power Delivery


Getting power into and around a chip is becoming a lot more difficult due to increasing power density, but 2.5D and 3D integration are pushing those problems to whole new levels. The problems may even be worse with new packaging approaches, such as chiplets, because they constrain how problems can be analyzed and solved. Add to that list issues around new fabrication technologies and an emph... » read more

Trading Off Power And Performance Earlier In Designs


Optimizing performance, power and reliability in consumer electronics is an engineering feat that involves a series of tradeoffs based on gathering as much data about the use cases in which a design will operate. Approaches vary widely by market, by domain expertise, and by the established methodologies and perspective of the design teams. As a result, one team may opt for a leading-edge des... » read more

Reducing Software Power


With the slowdown of Moore's Law, every decision made in the past must be re-examined to get more performance or lower power for a given function. So far, software has remained relatively unaffected, but it could be an untapped area for optimization and enable significant power reduction. The general consensus is that new applications such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, whe... » read more

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