Chip Industry Week In Review

U.S. IC strategy; Synopsys’ latest buy; Intel’s $8.5B funding; Cadence’s AI digital twin for data centers; Apple sued for antitrust over iPhone; ASE’s chiplet integration scheme; Expedera-Indie ADAS deal; Cycuity’s security analysis.


By Adam Kovac, Gregory Haley, and Liz Allan.

The U.S. government released a 61-page report, titled “National Strategy on Microelectronics Research,” by the Subcommittee On Microelectronics Leadership. It provides a framework for government, industry, academia, and international allies to address four major goals.

Synopsys  acquired Intrinsic ID, which develops physical unclonable functions (PUFs). The deal, which was announced at the Synopsys User Group, is yet another potentially significant addition to the company’s IP portfolio in recent months. In November, Synopsys announced it would begin developing RISC-V processor IP, leveraging technology and tools developed for its ARC processors. The company also rolled out an AI-enabled 3D space optimization tool for 3D-IC floor planning and thermal analysis, and a new emulation and prototyping platform.

Intel is slated to receive $8.5 billion in CHIPS Act funding to support two new fabs in Arizona, and to modernize existing fabs in New Mexico. The funds also include support for a regional chipmaking ecosystem in Ohio and Intel’s upcoming high-NA installation in Oregon. This non-binding preliminary memorandum of terms (PMT) is contingent on additional reviews and negotiations, a bureaucratic process that has been criticized for the slow roll-out of actual funding under the program, reports the New York Times.

At its 2024 GTC AI Conference, NVIDIA unveiled its Blackwell GPU architecture with 208 billion transistors, manufactured using a custom 4NP TSMC process with two reticle-limit GPU dies connected by 10TB/second chip-to-chip link.

The U.S. Dept. of Justice, 15 states, and the District of Columbia filed an antitrust suit against Apple in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, charging Apple with unfair business practices. Apple disagreed.

Quick links to more news:

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

Manufacturing and Test

U.S. semiconductor industry employment is surging again, after two decades of decline and stagnation. Between 2002 and 2009, the U.S. lost nearly 100,000 chip-related jobs, dropping to a low of about 180,000, and remaining there until 2021. Over the past three years, however, employment has increased by more than 23,000, with an expected addition of 115,000 jobs by 2030, according to the SIA.

Fig. 1: Employment statistics for U.S. Semiconductor Industry. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

ASE introduced an interconnect extension for chiplet integration in AI applications under its VIPack platform. The new microbump technology allows for a reduction in interconnect pitch from 40um down to 20um using a new metallurgical stack.

TSMC and Synopsys are entering production with the NVIDIA cuLitho platform to help reduce the workload of computational lithography. The companies claim a 45X speedup of curvilinear flows and a nearly 60X improvement on rectilinear flows in their tests.

Teradyne will work with NVIDIA to bring AI capabilities to automated inspection and pallet handling in the company’s robotics division. The solution will combine NVIDIA’s system-on-module (SOM) application designed for edge solutions and its cuMotion technology with Teradyne Robotics’ autonomous material handling equipment and software.

The chip industry is racing to develop enough talent to support its rapid expansion. In the U.S., Intel pledged more than $50 million to 80 higher education institutions in Ohio as part of its CHIPs Act funding announced this week. Additionally, Arizona State University (ASU) and Deca announced plans to create North America’s first fan-out wafer-level packaging (FOWLP) research and development capability at ASU Research Park in Tempe. Other universities are ramping up their education programs, as well. The University of Texas at Austin announced a new Master of Science in Engineering, with a major in semiconductor science and engineering beginning in 2025, and UT Dallas will host the new Texas Innovation Consortium Fund to increase workforce training programs at Texas colleges.

On the memory front, SK Hynix announced it has begun high-volume production of HBM3E, with improved heat control and processing speed up to 1.18TB of data per second. The high-bandwidth memory (HBM) sector of the DRAM market is expected to grow by 260% in 2024, according to TrendForce, and HBM’s revenue share of the DRAM market is expected to increase from 8.4% in 2023 to 20.1% by the end of 2024. Meanwhile, NAND flash supply growth is expected to increase 10.9% in 2024, thanks in part to increased capacity utilization at Kioxia and Western Digital, according to a new report from TrendForce.

Top Stories in the  Manufacturing, Packaging, and Materials newsletter this week:

  • Digital Twins Target IC Tool And Fab Efficiency: Special Report on how virtual representations will improve performance and productivity across the entire design through manufacturing flow, but deployments will vary in effectiveness and timelines.
  • Silicon Photonics Manufacturing Ramps Up: The promise of photonics ICs is spurring innovation, but complex processes and a lack of open foundries are keeping it from reaching its full potential.
  • Powering CFETs From The Backside: Next-gen transistors will benefit from the new power delivery scheme, but there are plenty of challenges ahead.

Design and Power

Cadence released an AI-driven digital twin solution for sustainable data center design and expanded its collaboration with NVIDIA on EDA, system design and analysis, digital biology, and AI.

NVIDIA uncorked a slew of partner announcements at its GTC Conference. Among them:

  • Synopsys is using NVIDIA’s GH200 Grace Hopper Superchip across its EDA stack and extending its LLM-based program to support NVIDIA AI and compute platforms.
  • Ansys expanded its collaboration with NVIDIA to include accelerated computing, advancing 6G communication systems, AI-infused simulation solutions, autonomous vehicles, digital twins, enhanced graphics, and visual rendering.
  • Keysight is working with NVIDIA’s Aerial Omniverse Digital Twin to develop AI for radio access networks and 6G.
  • Its Omniverse Cloud APIs will power industrial digital twin software tools, with partners including Ansys, Cadence, and Siemens.
  • NXP integrated NVIDIA’s TAO Toolkit directly into its eIQ ML development environment, making it easier to deploy trained AI models on edge devices.
  • It partnered with Alice & Bob to accelerate quantum computing integration into industry via the introduction of cat qubits into future datacenters.
  • It teamed up with Schneider Electric to devise publicly available AI data center reference designs, aimed at optimizing power efficiency while also being scalable.

Samsung began recruiting for its Semiconductor AGI Computing Lab initiative, dedicated to developing semiconductors to realize Artificial General Intelligence with an initial focus on chips for LLMs and reducing power consumption, per a LinkedIn post.

Astera Labs, maker of semiconductor-based connectivity solutions, launched its IPO this week.


indie Semiconductor and Expedera partnered to deliver customized AI-enabled processing capabilities for sensing solutions targeting advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), with a commercial agreement to integrate customized Expedera OriginTM NPU processing solutions into future indie products.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its rules for vehicle pollution, which were softer than originally proposed, “allowing additional time for the auto sector to scale up clean vehicle manufacturing supply chains,” according to the release.

The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory predicted there will be 33 million EVs on the road by 2030, needing 28 million EV charging ports of which 92% are expected to be private L1 and L2 chargers at single-family homes.

Following an earlier recall in Korea, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalled certain U.S. Hyundai and Kia EVs over a damaged charging unit.

Bentley is backtracking on its plan to offer only all-electric vehicles by 2030 and will continue offering plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for a few extra years, reports CNBC.

VinFast spun off V-Green as a separate entity to develop a charging infrastructure system and boost Vietnam’s EV charging density.

Global EV inverter installations increased 12% in Q4 2023 compared to Q3, reaching 7.14 million units, reports TrendForce.

The power SiC/GaN compound semiconductor market grew by 60% in 2023, mainly driven by BEVs, reports Yole.

Ekkono Solutions released a software development kit (SDK) that uses edge machine learning to simplify the deployment of AI for automotive applications on Infineon’s AURIX TC3x and TC4x MCUs.

Chinese carmakers BYD, Hyper, and XPENG adopted NVIDIA’s DRIVE Thor centralized car computer built for generative AI applications, powered by its new Blackwell chip, for their robotaxis, robobuses, and last-mile autonomous delivery vehicles.

NVIDIA DRIVE will enable SoundHound Chat AI, an in-vehicle voice platform that combines real-time generative AI capabilities, available completely offline.

OMNIVISION’s automotive image sensor with TheiaCel technology is now compatible with NVIDIA Omniverse for 3D applications such as autonomous vehicle simulation, and with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Chassis for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and AI-enabled connected digital cockpits.


Cycuity introduced advanced security analysis and design exploration capabilities, schematic visualizations, and guided security workflows for its Radix technology, helping companies detect and remediate security vulnerabilities in chip designs.

A team of German researchers examined the underlying concepts leading to hardware security attacks on emerging non-volatile memories (eNVMs), or NeuroHammer attacks.

A hardware security evaluation board can improve the quality and speed of side-channel information capture, according to researchers from NTU Singapore, Indraprastha IIT, and IIT Jodhpur.

CISPA found a new denial-of-service (DoS) attack targets application-layer protocols that draw on the user datagram protocol (UDP) for end-to-end communication, putting an estimated 300,000 Internet hosts and their networks at risk.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the EU’s Directorate General for Communications, Networks, Content, and Technology (DG CONNECT) announced an initiative to compare cyber incident reporting elements.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other U.S. and international partners said the Chinese-sponsored threat group Volt Typhoon is seeking to pre-position itself on IT networks for disruptive cyber activity against U.S. critical infrastructure in the event of a major conflict with the U.S. And CISA issued multiple other alerts.

In a letter to all U.S. governors, White House officials warned that Iranian threat actors carried out cyberattacks against critical U.S. infrastructure, including drinking water systems.

Pervasive Computing and AI

Renesas released its RA2A2 MCU based on the Arm Cortex-M23, featuring a dual-bank code flash and bank swap function that makes it easy to do firmware over-the-air updates for building automation, medical devices, IoT, and more.

Infineon expanded its XDP digital power protection controller line with a -48 V wide input voltage digital hot-swap controller featuring a programmable safe operating area control designed for telecom infrastructure.

Keysight demonstrated its IEEE P802.3dj draft specification compliant 1.6 terabit (T) Ethernet measurement system and validated a non-terrestrial network test scenario using Capgemini’s 5G New Radio central unit via its UeSIM UE Emulation RAN and Propsim Channel Emulator solutions.

UneeQ deployed NVIDIA Audio2Face to enable real-time digital humans to be even more lifelike.

The French Competition Authority fined Google €250 million (~$273M) for not respecting commitments made in 2022, noting Google had used content from publishers and press agencies to train its founding model without notifying them or the Authority.

OMNIVISION released a smartphone image sensor with TheiaCel technology, featuring a 1.2‑micron pixel in a 1/1.3‑inch optical format.

Global cellular IoT module shipments declined for the first time in 2023, dropping 2% year over year, according to Counterpoint.

MIT researchers created a high resolution computer vision system called FeatU.

Argonne National Laboratory researchers designed a remote-controlled, dual-arm telerobotics system to revolutionize hazardous waste clean-up with potential for broader applications.

Fig. 2: A telerobotics system designed by an Argonne scientist and demonstrated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Source: ORNL

Researchers from Australia, China, and Singapore demonstrated optimized roll-to-roll fabricated hybrid perovskite solar cells with power conversion efficiencies of up to 15.5% for individual small-area cells — a record high.

In-Depth Reports

And more new stories by the Semiconductor Engineering team:

  • 3D-IC Intensifies Demand For Multi-Physics Simulation: New challenges are driving big changes throughout the design flow, from tools to job responsibilities.
  • Optimizing Energy At The System Level: A lot of effort has gone into optimization of hardware during implementation, but that is a fraction of the total opportunity.
  • Cost And Quality Of Chiplets: Watch a video on why adaptive test is becoming necessary in heterogeneous designs.
  • Rethinking Chip Economics: As features and functions increase, so do the complexity and costs of developing chips.


Find upcoming chip industry events here, including:

Event Date Location
OFC: Optical Communications & Networking Mar 24 – 28 Virtual; San Diego, CA
DATE: Design, Automation and Test in Europe Conference Mar 25 – 27 Valencia, Spain
SEMI Therm Mar 25 – 28 San Jose, CA
Memory Con USA Mar 26 – 27 Silicon Valley
International Semiconductor Executive Summit Apr 2 – 3 Scottsdale, Arizona
Siemens User2User Apr 3 – 4 Santa Clara, CA
Embedded World Apr 9 – 11 Nuremberg, Germany
IEEE International Reliability Physics Symposium (IRPS) Apr 14 – 18 Dallas, Texas
CadenceLive Silicon Valley Apr 17 Santa Clara, CA
CHIPS for America: Execute For Global Success Apr 17 Virtual or Washington D.C.
All Upcoming Events

Upcoming webinars are here, including topics such as EM crosstalk, semiconductor startup policies and partnerships, power integrity and more.

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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