Chip Industry Week In Review

CHIPS Act funding disruption; Intel’s spin-out; Apple’s overheating fix; heterogeneous integration impact; application-optimized processors; 200mm capacity boost; L4 driving; die-to-die security; quantum dots.


By Jesse Allen, Liz Allan, and Gregory Haley

A potential government shutdown beginning in November would be “massively disruptive” for the Commerce Department as it continues to disburse critical funding featured in the CHIPS Act to boost semiconductor research and development in the U.S., according to Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Global semiconductor industry sales totaled $44 billion in August 2023, an increase of 1.9% compared to July 2023 but 6.8% less than the August 2022 total of $47.2 billion, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). Year-to-year sales were up slightly in Europe and the Americas, but down in Asia with China dropping 12.6%.

Intel plans to spin out its Programmable Solutions Group (PSG), formed after the company’s 2015 acquisition of FPGA maker Altera. Standalone operations will begin in 2024, with an IPO expected in the next two or three years. Intel intends to retain a majority stake in the company. Sandra Rivera, leader of the Data Center and AI Group, will serve as PSG’s CEO.

Apple iPhone 15 overheating is due to increased background activity when downloading and syncing apps after purchase and recent updates to third-party apps causing them to overload. Apple issued a bug fix to address the problem.

Renesas received approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on the proposed acquisition of Sequans, and announced its tender offer has been accepted. Sequans is a supplier of cellular connectivity chips and modules for 5G/4G massive and broadband IoT.

Quick links to more news:

Design and Power
Manufacturing and Test
Automotive and Batteries
Pervasive Computing, AI and Connectivity
Further Reading And Newsletters

Design and Power

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. Nearly every engineer is now working or touching some technology, process, or methodology that is new and interacting with skill sets that in the past existed in another silo.

Executing a neural network on top of an NPU requires an understanding of application requirements, such as latency and throughput, as well as the potential partitioning challenges. This discussion addresses fine-grained dependencies, why processing packets out of order can help optimize performance and power, and when to use voltage and frequency scaling versus clock gating.

Renesas is partnering with and investing in AI processor startup EdgeCortix to streamline and unify the overall AI/ML developer experience across its MCU and MPU portfolio.

Cadence completed its acquisition of Intrinsix from CEVA. Intrinsix provides design engineering solutions focused on the U.S. aerospace and defense industry, and will expand Cadence’s IC design services with expertise in advanced nodes, radio frequency, mixed-signal, and security algorithms.

Siemens and CEA-List plan to collaborate on research to further extend and enhance digital twin capabilities with AI and explore greater integration of embedded software on both virtual and hybrid platforms.

Nisshinbo Micro Devices deployed multiple Cadence solutions for analog IC and module development, including the AI-based Virtuoso Studio custom IC design platform and Clarity 3D Solver.

BrainChip debuted its second-generation event-based edge AI IP with support for 8-bit weights, activations, and long-range skip connections.

PrimisAI launched to commercialize RapidGPT, a generative AI-based tool for FPGA design that uses a natural language interface.

SnapMagic uncorked AI-driven software to augment PCB design tools with auto-completion of circuits, natural language description, and component optimization.

Jupiter, the upcoming EuroHPC exascale supercomputer from the Jülich Supercomputing Centre and collaborators, will be built by Eviden and have a dynamic modular architecture consisting of a highly-scalable booster module based on Nvidia technology and a tightly coupled general-purpose cluster module based on SiPearl’s Arm-based Rhea processor.

Manufacturing and Test

Intel began high-volume manufacturing of its EUV-based Intel 4 process technology in Ireland. Production at Intel Ireland’s Fab 34 is also the first use of EUV in high-volume manufacturing in Europe.

Intel also announced plans for an initial investment of more than $20 billion in the construction of two new leading-edge chip factories in Licking County, Ohio.

200mm demand is expected to drop by 50% to 60% as IDMs open new fabs, according to a new report by TrendForce. This should ease delivery for chips developed at mature nodes, which have been hindering growth in a variety of industries — particularly automotive and white goods — and delaying time to market. There are multiple underlying factors, notably decreasing demand in China due to a floundering economy and more fabs coming online.

Three industry experts discuss changes in test that address tracing device quality throughout a product’s lifetime, and over-arching concerns about data ownership and privacy.

NIST and other researchers developed a “quantum ruler” to measure and explore the properties of twisted graphene sheets.  These materials “can suddenly generate their own magnetic fields, become superconductors with zero electrical resistance, or conversely, turn into perfect insulators.”

Tenstorrent selected Samsung Foundry to bring its next generation of RISC-V CPU and AI acceleration chiplets to market using Samsung’s 4nm SF4X process.

Bruker released the Hysitron TI 990 TriboIndenter, a nanomechanical test system with new measurement modes, two times faster testing throughput, and a larger 200mm x 300mm testing area, improved accuracy for nanoscale testing of polymer thin films, increased throughput for combinatorial materials science, and multi-measurement analysis of full 300-mm semiconductor wafers.

proteanTecs announced a partnership with ELES to advance health and performance monitoring solutions to enhance reliability testing for advanced electronics.

Advantest announced it has received a 2022 Best Supplier Award from longtime partner ASE Technology Holding Co. Ltd. at ASE Holdings’ annual Supplier Day.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year was awarded to the discovery and development of quantum dots, “nanoparticles so tiny that their size determines their properties.”

Automotive and Batteries

Many of the features that will be included in autonomous vehicles are likely to be rolled out individually. Mercedes-Benz recently introduced Level 3 autonomous driving, and other automotive OEMs will soon follow. Moving from Level 3 to Level 4 is much more complicated, but L4 features will offer major autonomous driving benefits never seen before.

Provizio plans to deliver its 5D Perception platforms by 2025 and license the technology to Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs to enable safe autonomous driving, according to SAE. The platform uses five inputs to sense the environment: 3D radar information of an object in space, velocity information, and perception (AI embedded in the hardware). It will be powered by radar and cameras, not light detection and ranging (lidar).

A Cruise robo-taxi was involved in an accident with a pedestrian in San Francisco, after the pedestrian had been struck by a vehicle with a driver. The AV braked aggressively to minimize injury, according to Cruise.

General Motors (GM) will start direct-to-consumer sales of its all-electric Cadillac vehicles in Switzerland, followed by Sweden and France. It will be GM’s first return to European markets after selling off Opel and Vauxhall in 2017.

Lucid launched Air Pure RWD with a range of up to 410 miles, DC fast charging adding up to 150 miles in less than 12 minutes, and a $77,400 starting price. The vehicle features Lucid’s most compact battery pack to date, the DreamDrive constellation of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and the Lucid UX digital environment with regular over-the-air software updates.

Fig. 1: Lucid Air Pure EV. Source: Lucid

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into various 2021-22 Ford models, including the all-electric F-150 Lightning. “Without warning the vehicle may experience a loss of motive power without restart due to catastrophic engine failure related to an alleged faulty valve within 2.7 L and 3.0 L EcoBoost Engines,” the NHTSA said. Ford canceled dealer stock orders for the 2023 F-150 to do additional quality checks.

NHTSA also is investigating the 2018-2019 Volkswagen Atlas due to “inadvertent activation of the automatic emergency braking system resulting in sudden vehicle deceleration, increasing the risk of a collision.”

Electrification and advancements in vehicle networking and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are fueling growth in the automotive electronics sector, the microcontroller (MCU) market’s largest segment according to Yole. First-quarter 2023 saw a decline of 7%, then the market rose 3% and is expected to continue growing, resulting in flat growth for the year. Low-single-digit growth is expected for 2024.

The autonomous parking algorithm often fails due to the diversity of parking scenes, changes in lighting conditions, and other unfavorable factors. Researchers at Shanghai University of Engineering Science propose an improved algorithm based on YOLOv5-OBB.

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) developed a framework for designing solid-state batteries (SSBs) that outlined the mechanics of materials for solid-state electrolytes, providing insight into the factors that shape SSBs’ lifespan and efficacy.

Arteris won the Autonomous Vehicle Technology of the Year award for its FlexNoC network-on-chip (NoC) IP for automotive advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) chips. The award was conducted by AutoTech Breakthrough, an organization that recognizes companies and products in the global automotive and transportation technology markets.


Security concerns are growing as more chiplets or die are added into a package. There are more possible attack points, and data is becoming increasingly valuable, which makes a successful attack much more lucrative than in the past.

To secure the controller area network (CAN) bus from advanced intrusion attacks, researchers at Virginia Tech and other institutes propose a signal-level intrusion detection framework called CANShield.

In an effort to detect Trojans based on Logic Locking (TroLL), researchers at University of Maryland and University of Florida propose customization of existing state-of-the-art ATPG-based hardware Trojan (HWT) detection approaches as well as adapting the SAT-based attacks on logic locking to HWT detection.

MITRE Engenuity transferred management and scaling of its MITRE ATT&CK Defender (MAD) program to MAD20 Technologies. The MAD program offers video-based training, testing, and credentialing to help close the cybersecurity skills gap.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) published a guidance document, Access Management: Developer and Vendor Challenges. The two agencies also released a joint cybersecurity advisory to highlight the top ten most common cybersecurity misconfigurations in large organizations, and detail the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) actors use to exploit these misconfigurations.

CISA added known exploited vulnerabilities to its catalog, including JetBrains TeamCity Authentication Bypass Vulnerability and Microsoft Windows CNG Key Isolation Service Privilege Escalation Vulnerability. The agency also issued numerous other alerts.

Pervasive Computing, AI and Connectivity

Tensor Core GPUs have created a generative AI model gold rush. But that’s only one aspect of AI, and not every application requires it. The more complex the task and the more accurate the results, the more AI compute power is demanded, and the more data that must be gathered to train the AI. So how should developers go about making the right AI choice?

More sensors are being designed for more applications, but that doesn’t mean they’re interchangeable or reusable.

Siemens and CEA-List will collaborate on research to extend and enhance digital twin capabilities with AI and explore greater integration of embedded software on both virtual and hybrid platforms.

Infineon acquired 100% of Zurich-based 3db Access (3db), a pioneer in secured low power Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology and an IP provider for major automotive brands, strengthening Infineon’s portfolio for secured smart access, precise localization, and enhanced sensing.

Keysight announced a phased array antenna control and calibration solution that enables satellite designers developing active electronically scanned arrays for satellite communications applications to rapidly test their designs during early validation.

At its Made by Google event, the company introduced Assistant with Bard, a personal assistant powered by generative AI, allowing users to interact through text, voice, or images.

UK communications regulator Ofcom referred the public cloud infrastructure services market to the Competition and Markets Authority for further investigation, stating that Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft had a combined market share of 70% to 80% in 2022, with Google next at 5% to 10%. Ofcom is concerned about egress fees, technical barriers to interoperability and portability, and committed spend discounts.

An optical receiver combining a SiGe BiCMOS traveling-wave electronics integrated circuit and a silicon photonics germanium photodetector achieved a gross data rate of 200 Gbps, offering speed and scalability to meet exploding data-rate needs, according to a team of researchers from IDLab, an imec research group at Ghent University.

Researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) developed an AI copilot to form a partnership between human and machine, rooted in understanding attention. For humans, it uses eye-tracking, and for the neural system, it relies on “saliency maps” to identify early signs of potential risks. Similar cooperative control mechanisms could one day be used in cars, drones, and wider robotics.


Find upcoming chip industry events here, including:

Event Date Location
CASPA 2023 Annual Conference Oct 7 Santa Clara, CA
International Test Conference Oct 8 – 13 Anaheim, CA
WISH 2023: Women in Semiconductor Hardware Oct 12 San Jose, CA
OktoberTech Asia-Pacific 2023 Oct 13 Singapore
CadenceCONNECT: Jasper User Group 2023 Oct 18 – 19 San Jose, CA
CadenceCONNECT: The Race Is On: Recent advancements in the field of automotive chips Oct 18 Austin, Texas
Future of Computing: Domain-Specific Architecture (SEMI & McKinsey) Oct 19 Milpitas, CA
IEEE International Conference on Physical Assurance and Inspection of Electronics (PAINE) Oct 24 – 26 Huntsville, Alabama
PDF Solutions 2023 User Conference Oct 24 – 26 Santa Clara Marriott, CA
OktoberTech Silicon Valley Oct 25 Silicon Valley
ICCAD 2023: International Conference on Computer-Aided Design Oct 29 – Nov 2 San Francisco Security Trainings and Conference Netherlands 2023 Oct 30 – Nov 3 The Hague, Netherlands
More Events

Upcoming webinars are here.

Further Reading and Newsletters

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

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