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Firmware Skills Shortage


Good hardware without good software is a waste of silicon, but with so many new processors and accelerator architectures being created, and so many new skills required, companies are finding it hard to hire enough engineers with low-level software expertise to satisfy the demand. Writing compilers, mappers and optimization software does not have the same level of pizazz as developing new AI ... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers The U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and several chip executives have sent a joint letter to President Biden, urging the administration to include substantial funding for semiconductor manufacturing and research in the U.S. As reported, the share of global semiconductor manufacturing capacity in the U.S. has decreased from 37% in 1990 to 12% today. “Semiconductors pow... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Packaging and test Intel has invested an additional $475 million in its chip assembly and test manufacturing facility in the Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) in Vietnam. This takes Intel’s total investment in the Vietnam facility to $1.5 billion. The site assembles and tests Intel’s 5G products and processors. TSMC recently announced a huge increase in capital spending for 2021. A large perce... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Market research For some time, China has faced an enormous trade gap in semiconductors. In response, China has been developing its semiconductor industry with plans to make more of its chips. But China is expected to fall far short of its “Made in China 2025” goals for IC production, according to IC Insights. “IC Insights forecasts China-produced ICs will represent only 19.4% of its I... » read more

CEO Outlook: 2021


The new year will be one of significant transition and innovation for the chip industry, but there are so many new applications and market segments that broad generalizations are becoming less meaningful. Unlike in years past, where sales of computers or smart phones were a good indication of how the chip industry would fare, end markets have both multiplied and splintered, greatly increasin... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Government and trade The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has expanded its export control regulations for U.S.-based hi-tech companies. The BIS has added more companies to its “Military End User” (MEU) list. The list involves 103 entities, which includes 58 Chinese and 45 Russian companies. The U.S. government has determined that these companies are “military end users” or th... » read more

Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing


Automotive/Mobility Apple wants to have self-driving cars in production by 2024, and that timeframe includes having its own battery technology, according to Reuters. Project Titan, the name of Apple’s automotive efforts, has seen its ups and downs, but now Apple has a clearer view of what its strength and niche will be — consumer self-driving cars with a longer range, less expensive batter... » read more

Predicting Reliability At 3/2nm And Beyond


The chip industry is determined to manufacture semiconductors at 3/2nm — and maybe even beyond — but it's unlikely those chips will be the complex all-in-one SoCs that have defined advanced electronics over the past decade or so. Instead, they likely will be one of many tiles in a system that define different functions, the most important of which are highly specialized for a particular app... » read more

Emerging Apps And Challenges For Packaging


Advanced packaging is playing a bigger role and becoming a more viable option to develop new system-level chip designs, but it also presents chipmakers with a confusing array of options and sometimes a hefty price tag. Automotive, servers, smartphones and other systems have embraced advanced packaging in one form or another. For other applications, it's overkill, and a simpler commodity pack... » read more

The Next Phase Of Computing


Apple's new M1 chip offers a glimpse of what's ahead, and not just from Apple. Being able to get 18 to 20 hours of battery life from a laptop computer moves the ball much farther down the field in semiconductor design. All of this is entirely dependent on the applications, of course. But what's important here is how much battery life and performance can be gained by designing hardware specif... » read more

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