Chip Industry Week In Review

Synopsys to acquire Ansys; global semi revenue; heterogeneous integration hurdles; atomic batteries; proteanTecs’ power solution; Amkor/GF’s new facility; advanced packaging thermal issues; GPU vulnerabilities; PC shipments to rebound; genAI.


By Jesse Allen, Gregory Haley, and Liz Allan

Synopsys will acquire Ansys for about $35 billion in cash and stock. The deal will boost Synopsys’ multi-physics simulation capabilities, which are essential for complex 3D-IC designs, where thermal density can have significant repercussions. The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2025.

Worldwide semiconductor revenue in 2023 totaled $533 billion, a decrease of 11.1% from 2022, according to preliminary results by Gartner. The combined semiconductor revenue of the top 25 semiconductor vendors declined 14.1% in 2023, accounting for 74.4% of the market, down from 77.2% in 2022.

However, simple formulas on how the chip industry is doing no longer apply. There are too many variables, and more on the way.

Special Report: Many More Hurdles In Heterogeneous Integration

More resources will be needed for IC-to-package design, process extendibility, and improved reliability.

NIST added a new vulnerability that could impact generative AI security in data centers.  (CVE-2023-4969): “A GPU kernel can read sensitive data from another GPU kernel (even from another user or app) through an optimized GPU memory region called _local memory_ on various architectures.” Security firm Trails of Bits provides more details here.

Quick links to more news:

 Manufacturing and Test
Design and Power
Automotive and Batteries
Pervasive Computing and AI
In-Depth Reports

Manufacturing and Test

proteanTecs uncorked a power reduction solution for the data center, mobile, communications and automotive markets. The new solution uses on-chip telemetry, coupled with machine learning and predictive analytics, to enable workload-aware reduction in power. The approach also reduces the amount of guard-banding needed inside a chip or package, which can have a big impact on power and cooling costs in data centers.

Onto Innovation released a panel-level packaging inspection and metrology process control system aimed at buried defects and voids, targeting upcoming glass and copper-clad laminates (CCLs).

Keysight and researchers from France’s Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Lille University, and Osaka University broke the 1Tbps barrier using a system built with a combination of terahertz photodiodes and an electronics-based receiver covering a range of 500-724 GHz.

TSMC and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) joined forces to research and develop a spin-orbit-torque magnetic random-access memory (SOT-MRAM) array chip.

Foxconn and HCL Group announced plans for a new OSAT facility in India, reports Reuters.

Amkor and GlobalFoundries kicked off their European partnership with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Amkor’s Porto, Portugal, facility. GF transferred 50 tools from its site in Dresden, Germany, to Porto.

Engineering and technology group Accuron Technologies acquired RECIF Technologies, a France-based company specializing in the design, manufacture, and installation of robotic handling equipment for semiconductor wafer-handling.

Neways completed the acquisition of Netherlands-based Sencio that specializes in advanced packaging for smart sensing and actuation applications.

Natcast, the expected operator of the CHIPS for America National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), announced that Synopsys’ Deirdre Hanford will serve as the organization’s first chief executive officer.

Top Story: Navigating Heat In Advanced Packaging

New approaches and materials being explored as chip industry pushes into heterogeneous integration.

Design and Power

Cadence unveiled several new apps for its Palladium Z2 emulation system — a four-state emulation app to accelerate simulations requiring X-propagation, such as for low-power verification of complex SoCs with multiple switched power domains; a real-number modeling app for simulations on mixed-signal designs; and a dynamic power analysis app with a massively parallel architecture for multi-billion-gate, million-clock-cycle power analysis of complex SoCs.

Infosys, which provides engineering services and consulting, will acquire InSemi Technology, a provider of semiconductor design and embedded software development services. The acquisition is expected to close during Infosys’ fiscal Q4.

Nokia plans to invest €360 million (~$391 million) in software, hardware, and chip design at two German sites. The move is part of a four-year European IPCEI project, focused on the integrated development of software and high-performance SoCs for radio and optical products in future mobile communications systems based on the 5G-Advanced and 6G standards.

NVM Express introduced a standardized, vendor-neutral framework for connecting applications to NVMe Computational Storage devices across both compute and storage services.

OIF published a new Implementation Agreement (IA) for Common Electrical I/O (CEI) CEI-112G-XSR+-PAM4 Extended Extra Short Reach. It specifies a 112 Gb/s PAM4 electrical interface for die-to-die (D2D) and die-to-optical-engine (D2OE) interconnect, with bump-to-bump insertion loss up to 13 dB at the Nyquist frequency and baud rate in the range of 36 Gsym/s to 58 Gsym/s.

EnSilica added post-quantum cryptography accelerators to its eSi-Crypto range of hardware accelerator IP, covering the CRYSTALS Dilithium digital signature algorithm and Kyber key encapsulation mechanism.

QuEra Computing and Australia’s Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre will collaborate on high-performance quantum emulation software optimized for Pawsey’s Setonix supercomputer to aid in research projects focused on quantum science and technology.

The Finnish Quantum Flagship (FQF) project launched with €13 million (~$14.2 million) from the Research Council of Finland, aiming to boost research in quantum materials, devices, and information and support commercial applications and technology transfer.

Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago, and their partners collaborated to boost understanding of quantum computing for financial applications.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) updated a publication offering guidance on how organizations can measure the effectiveness of their cybersecurity programs, and is soliciting public comments by March 18, 2024.

Security threats to multi-tenant FPGAs are growing, according to researchers at EPFL, Cyber-Defence Campus (Switzerland), and Northwestern Polytechnical University (China) who analyzed “the combined threat of FPGA power wasters and satisfiability don’t-care hardware Trojans in shared-cloud FPGAs.”

A novel module-level configuration methodology for programmable camouflaged logic can be implemented without additional hardware ports and with negligible resources, according to researchers at Tsinghua University, Pennsylvania State University, North Dakota State University, and University of Notre Dame.

Researchers at New York University Abu Dhabi built an ML analysis and attack framework of tools on certain memristor-based physical unclonable functions (MR-PUF).

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT-CSAIL) found that “ambient light sensors are vulnerable to privacy threats when embedded on a smart device’s screen.”

OpenAI is working with the U.S. Department of Defense on AI tools, including open-source cybersecurity tools, and revised its policy page to no longer ban the use of its technology in military activity, reports CNBC.

Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) observed that the Russian threat group, COLDRIVER, has gone “beyond phishing for credentials, to delivering malware via campaigns using PDFs as lure documents.”

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) advised of Androxgh0st Malware, which establishes a botnet for victim identification and exploitation in vulnerable networks, and released cybersecurity guidance on Chinese-manufactured unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). CISA issued other alerts, as well, including an advisory concerning Drupal Core.

Automotive and Batteries

The U.S. government awarded nearly $150 million to 24 recipients in 20 states to make existing electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure more reliable. In sub-zero temperatures in Chicago, EV drivers found some charging stations either didn’t work, or charging took much longer. Many cars had to be towed away, according to CBS.

Global connected car sales rose 28% year over year in Q3 2023, and two-thirds of cars sold had embedded connectivity, according to Counterpoint. China had the most connected car sales, at 33%, then the U.S. and Europe. The three regions captured 75% of the market.

BYD launched its AI-powered smart car system, obtained a conditional testing license for L3 autonomous driving, and will invest 5 billion yuan ($701.8 million) to build all-terrain professional test drive sites in Chinese cities, reports CNBC.

Infineon partnered with OMRON Social Solutions to combine Infineon’s gallium nitride (GaN) based power solutions with OMRON’s circuit topology and control technology, enabling one of Japan’s smallest and lightest vehicle-to-everything (V2X) charging systems and driving innovation towards wide bandgap materials in power supplies. Also, Infineon’s TRAVEO T2G Cluster automotive microcontrollers are now available with Finland-based Qt Group’s graphics solution and its developer toolkit for building graphical user interfaces (GUI).

Mazda will adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) for its battery electric vehicles (BEVs) launched in North America from 2025.

China-based Betavolt developed a nuclear battery with a 50-year life span, using nickel-63, decay technology, and diamond semiconductors to miniaturize, modularize, and reduce costs of atomic energy batteries, reports China Daily. (See image.)

Pervasive Computing and AI

Renesas introduced a 64-bit general-purpose MPU for IoT edge and gateway devices, offering low power, fast startup, a PCI Express interface for high-speed 5G, and tamper detection. The company also debuted a dual-core Bluetooth low energy SoC with integrated flash, aimed at connected medical, asset tracking, and human interface devices.

Global PC shipments ended Q4 2023 with a 0.2% year over year decline, and saw a 14% YoY decline for all of 2023, reports Counterpoint. Shipment momentum is expected to grow in the first half of 2024. Intel and AMD have CPU solutions, Meteor Lake and Hawk Point, for next-gen AI PCs, which should drive demand.

The global AI server market, including AI training and inference, is expected to exceed 1.6 million units in 2024, at a growth rate of 40%, reports TrendForce, as edge AI applications shift toward AI PCs. And shipments of Apple’s Vision Pro could reach up to 600,000 units in 2024, expanding the virtual head-mounted device market.

In a Deloitte survey, three-quarters of respondents expect Gen AI to transform their organizations within three years. A quarter believe their organizations are well prepared to address governance and risk issues, and more than half are concerned that widespread use of Gen AI will increase economic inequality.

At the World Economic Forum 2024 in Davos:

  • The United Nations’ Secretary-General said “every new iteration of generative AI increases the risk of serious unintended consequences” and “some powerful tech companies are already pursuing profits with a clear disregard for human rights, personal privacy, and social impact.”
  • The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, EPFL, ETH Zurich, and partners launched the International Computation and AI Network (ICAIN) to develop AI technologies that benefit society as a whole and help reduce global inequality.
  • OpenAI CEO Sam Altman spoke on the future of AI.

Arizona State University and OpenAI partnered to bring the capabilities of ChatGPT Enterprise into higher education, enhancing learning, creativity, and student outcomes.

The Dutch government presented a vision of GenAI and announced €204.5 million (~$222 million) to the AINEd program for knowledge, innovation and the application of Dutch AI systems.

Infineon launched a magnetic position sensor housed in a small six-ball wafer-level package, suited for zoom lenses and focus adjustment in cameras, and a secondary-side controlled ZVS flyback converter chipset ideal for USB-C adapters, chargers, and travel adapters.

Infineon’s Imagimob updated its studio so users can visualize ML modeling workflows and leverage advanced capabilities to develop edge device models better and faster.

Fig. 1: Imagimob Studio’s new Graph UX. Source: Infineon

Siemens connected its Teamcenter Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) with Salesforce’s manufacturing and service clouds. The AI-based SaaS integration will help manufacturers build feedback loops between service execution and product development to foster innovation. And REJOOL adopted Siemens’ Xcelerator as a Service portfolio of industry software to help bring its PIONYR hydrogen compression technology to market.

Drone delivery company Wing, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, launched a new aircraft with a range of 12 miles, cruising speed of 65 miles per hour, and the ability to carry a 5-pound delivery box.

Scientists from Wageningen University, MIT, Yale University, and the Jülich Research Center developed METEOR, a chameleon application that can train AI algorithms to classify objects in satellite images faster.

A new manufacturing approach for thin-film electrodes allows minimally invasive, high-res recording up to four inches inside the human brain. The monolithic probes are customizable and scalable due to thin-film technology derived from the semiconductor and digital-display screen industries, according to researchers at the University of California San Diego.

In-Depth Reports

Here are more new stories by the Semiconductor Engineering team:

Expert discussion: Which data works best for voltage droop simulation?

3D integration supports compute-in-memory’s versatility and accuracy, but new approaches are needed.

Reducing Power In Data Centers: New approaches to improving utilization while reducing guard-banding (video).


Find upcoming chip industry events here:

Event Date Location
Automotive World: Advanced Automotive Technology Show Jan 24 – 26 Tokyo, Japan
Speed, Protocol and Security: New Automotive Network Challenges Jan 24 Novi, MI
SPIE Photonics West Jan 27 – Feb 1 San Francisco, CA
DesignCon 2024 Jan 30 – Feb 1 Santa Clara, CA
Chiplet Summit Feb 6 – 8 Santa Clara, CA
The Rise of Photonic Computing Feb 7 – 8 San Jose, CA
Wafer-Level Packaging Symposium Feb 13 – 15 Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport
2024 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) Feb 18 – Feb 22 San Francisco, CA
PCI-SIG Developers Conference Feb 19 – Feb 20 Taipei, Taiwan
Phil Kaufman Award and Banquet Feb 22 San Jose, CA
SPIE Advanced Lithography + Patterning Feb 25 – Feb 29 San Jose, CA
Renesas Tech Day UK Feb 27 Cambridge, UK
All Upcoming Events

Upcoming webinars are here, including talks on Cyber Trust Mark, debug and verification management, and EM simulation.

Further Reading and Newsletters

Read the latest special reports and top stories, or check out the latest newsletters:

Systems and Design
Low Power-High Performance
Test, Measurement and Analytics
Manufacturing, Packaging and Materials
Automotive, Security and Pervasive Computing

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