SEMI Merges With ESD Alliance

EDA industry group adds more resources, while SEMI continues to reach farther across the electronics supply chain.

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SEMI unveiled plans today to merge with the ESD Alliance, the chip industry’s top EDA tools group, following three similar moves by SEMI in other slices of the semiconductor supply chain.

The consolidation among industry groups began several years ago, but it has accelerated recently with the rollup under SEMI’s leadership of the FlexTech Alliance, the MEMS & Sensors Industry Group and the Fab Owners Association. All four groups, including the ESD Alliance, now fall under the heading of SEMI Strategic Association Partner.

The moves collectively point to a shift that has been underway across the electronics industry for several years, namely that chip design all the way through to manufacturing are becoming less of a series of discrete steps than a front-to-back collaboration between chipmakers, EDA companies, IP developers, foundries, test and packaging. At the most advanced nodes, and for advanced packaging, strategies need to be developed starting at the architecture stage. That compression is becoming even more pronounced as end customers such as carmakers push the entire electronics supply chain to develop chips faster, cheaper, and more reliably.

“The integration of the ESD Alliance into SEMI is a way to globalize these issues,” said Bettina Weiss, SEMI’s vice president of business development and product management. “We will create an integration plan, a membership plan, and harmonize all of this.”

Weiss noted that the goal of all of these deals is to keep all of these segments alive, which in the case of the ESD Alliance means maintaining its support of the annual Design Automation Conference.

The deal was not a total surprise. SEMI and the ESD alliance have been working closely together for the past several years. Bob Smith, executive director of the ESD Alliance, said the group will remain a sponsor of DAC and that the ESD Alliance board will remain intact, although it will now report up to the governing council of SEMI, which will set the overall strategy for the industry.

“What this allows us to do is expand geographically and program-wise,” said Smith. “We will help to fulfill SEMI’s broader mission, which is good for them, and it gives us global reach, which is good for us.”

Top EDA executives were quick to back the move. “The semiconductor industry has grown and matured since the EDA Consortium was formed,” said Aart de Geus, chairman and co-chief executive officer of Synopsys, in a statement. “Many of the previously disparate areas within the industry now overlap and it’s obvious we need to address the supply chain from manufacturing all the way through design. The ESD Alliance represents the system design ecosystem and perfectly aligns with SEMI’s vision to support the entire supply chain. As an international organization with offices around the globe, SEMI gives the ESD Alliance an opportunity to expand its reach and grow to its full potential.”

Integration of the two groups is expected to be completed this year.



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