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What Will Intel Do Next?


The writing is on the wall for big processor makers. Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google are developing their own processors. In addition, there are more than 30 startups developing various types of AI accelerators, as well as a field of embedded FPGA vendors, a couple of discrete FPGA makers, and a slew of soft processor cores. This certainly hasn't been lost on Intel. As the world's largest... » read more

The Quest For Perfection


Demands by automakers for zero defects over 15 years are absurd, particularly when it comes to 10/7nm AI systems that will be the brains of autonomous and assisted driving or any mobile electronic device. There are several reasons for this. To begin with, no one has ever used a 10/7nm device under extreme conditions for any length of time. Chips developed at these nodes are just starting to ... » read more

GF Puts 7nm On Hold


GlobalFoundries is putting its 7nm finFET program on hold indefinitely and has dropped plans to pursue technology nodes beyond 7nm. The moves, which mark a major shift in direction for the foundry, involve a headcount reduction of about 5% of its worldwide workforce. At the same time, the company is also moving its ASIC business into a new subsidiary. As a result of GlobalFoundries’ ann... » read more

Who’s Paying For Auto Chip Test?


Testing of automotive chips is becoming more difficult and time-consuming, and the problem is only going to get worse. There is more to this than simply developing new test equipment or devising a better design for test flow. There are multiple issues at play here, and some of them are at odds with the others. First, no one has experience using advanced-node chips in extreme environments.... » read more

7nm Design Challenges


Ty Garibay, CTO at ArterisIP, talks about the challenges of moving to 7nm, who’s likely to head there, how long it will take to develop chips at that node, and why it will be so expensive. This also raises questions about whether chips will begin to disaggregate at 7nm and 5nm. https://youtu.be/ZqCAbH678GE » read more

Market And Tech Inflections Ahead


Aart de Geus, chairman and co-CEO of Synopsys, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about the path to autonomous vehicles, industry dis-aggregation and re-aggregation, security issues, and who's going to pay for chips at advanced nodes. SE: All of a sudden we have a bunch of new markets opening up for electronics. We have assisted and autonomous driving, AI and machine learning, v... » read more

Dealing With Resistance In Chips


Chipmakers continue to scale the transistor at advanced nodes, but they are struggling to maintain the same pace with the other two critical parts of the device—the contacts and interconnects. That’s beginning to change, however. In fact, at 10nm/7nm, chipmakers are introducing new topologies and materials such as cobalt, which promises to boost the performance and reduce unwanted resist... » read more

Big Trouble At 3nm


As chipmakers begin to ramp up 10nm/7nm technologies in the market, vendors are also gearing up for the development of a next-generation transistor type at 3nm. Some have announced specific plans at 3nm, but the transition to this node is expected to be a long and bumpy one, filled with a slew of technical and cost challenges. For example, the design cost for a 3nm chip could exceed an eye-p... » read more

Near-Threshold Issues Deepen


Complex issues stemming from near-threshold computing, where the operating voltage and threshold voltage are very close together, are becoming more common at each new node. In fact, there are reports that the top five mobile chip companies, all with chips at 10/7nm, have had performance failures traced back to process variation and timing issues. Once a rather esoteric design technique, near... » read more

Extending The IC Roadmap


An Steegen, executive vice president of semiconductor technology and systems at Imec, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss IC scaling and chip packaging. Imec is working on next-generation transistors, but it is also developing several new technologies for IC packaging, such as a proprietary silicon bridge, a cooling technology and packaging modules. What follows are excerpts of t... » read more

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