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Recalculating The Cost Of Test


The cost of test is rising. For decades, test was limited to a flat 2% of the cost of designing and manufacturing a chip. Today, no one is quite sure what that cost really is, and there doesn't seem to be any single formula for determining it. In some cases, there isn't even a sense of urgency to finding out. Several significant changes are occurring that make any formula difficult to cal... » read more

Shortages, Challenges Engulf Packaging Supply Chain


A surge in demand for chips is impacting the IC packaging supply chain, causing shortages of select manufacturing capacity, various package types, key components, and equipment. Spot shortages in packaging surfaced in late 2020 and have since spread to other sectors. There are now a variety of choke points in the supply chain. Wirebond and flip-chip capacity will remain tight throughout 2021... » read more

Using Analytics To Reduce Burn-in


Silicon providers are using adaptive test flows to reduce burn-in costs, one of the many approaches aimed at stemming cost increases at advanced nodes and in advanced packages. No one likes it when their cell phone fails within the first month of ownership. But the problems are much more pressing when the key components in data warehouse servers or automobiles fail. Reliability expectations ... » read more

EDA, IP Revenue Up 15%


EDA and IP revenues blasted off in Q3 of 2020 in every geography and every sector, despite a trade war, a pandemic, and slowdowns in the automotive and avionics sectors. Revenue grew to $2.95 billion, up 15% over the $2.57 billion in the same period in 2019, according to a just-released report from the Electronic System Design Alliance Market Statistic Services (MSS). The four-quarter moving... » 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

The Darker Side Of Hybrid Bonding


With semiconductors, it's often things everyone takes for granted that cause the biggest headaches, and that problem is compounded when something fundamental changes — such as bonding two chips together using a process aimed at maximizing performance. Case in point: CMP for backend of the line metallization in hybrid bonding. While this is a mature process, it doesn't easily translate for ... » read more

The Cyber-Industrial Revolution


Semiconductors won't save the world, but they certainly will help. In fact, it's arguable whether any significant progress will be made on such issues as global warming or future medical breakthroughs without the aid of ICs. After decades of struggling just to get chips to work at each new process node, the semiconductor industry is moving into a new phase. Processing is now almost ubiquitou... » read more

Is Hardware-Assisted Verification Avoidable?


Emulation is emerging as the tool of choice for complex and large designs, but companies that swap from simulation to emulation increasingly recognize this is not an easy transition. It requires money, time, and effort, and even then not everyone gets it right. Still, there are significant benefits to moving from simulation to emulation, providing these systems can be utilized efficiently en... » read more

Rethinking The Scaling Mantra


What makes a new chip better than a previous version, or a competitor's version, has been changing for some time. In most cases the key metrics are still performance and power, but what works for one application or use case increasingly is different from another. Advancements are rarely tied just to process nodes these days. Even the most die-hard proponents of Moore's Law recognize that the... » read more

Regaining The Edge In U.S. Chip Manufacturing


The United States is developing new strategies to prevent it from falling further behind Korea, Taiwan, and perhaps even China in semiconductor manufacturing, as trade tensions and national security concerns continue to grow. For years, the U.S. has been a leader in the development of new chip products like GPUs and microprocessors. But from a chip manufacturing standpoint, the U.S. is losin... » read more

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