Five DAC Keynotes


The ending of Moore's Law may be about to create a new golden age for design, especially one fueled by artificial intelligence and machine learning. But design will become task-, application- and domain-specific, and will require that we think about the lifecycle of the products in a different way. In the future, we also will have to design for augmentation of experience, not just automation... » 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

FinFET ASICs: It Takes A Platform


Sophisticated, specialized ASIC technology is making an impact on the everyday world around us. Whether it’s a gadget you can have a conversation with, a car that will take over driving from time to time, or internet speeds that seem impossibly fast, there is likely sophisticated custom silicon present as a critical enabling technology. Plenty has been written about advanced ASICs for network... » read more

Tech Talk: Connected Intelligence


Gary Patton, CTO at GlobalFoundries, talks about computing at the edge, the slowdown in scaling, and why new materials and packaging approaches will be essential in the future. https://youtu.be/Zbz0R_yFFrQ » 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

New Transistor Types Vs. Packaging


Plans are being formulated for the rollout of multiple types of gate-all-around FETs and literally dozens of advanced packaging options. The question now is which ones will achieve critical mass, because there aren't enough chips in the world to support all of them profitably. FinFETs, which were first introduced by Intel at 22nm, are running out of steam. While they will survive 10/7nm, and... » 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

Understanding The Effect Of Variability In Bulk FinFET Device Performance


2-D MOSFETs have proven difficult to scale down to 20nm and beyond. In their place, 3D FinFET transistors have emerged as novel devices that can scale down to lower node sizes. 10nm process finFETs are for SoC product mass production, and research is progressing towards a 7nm process finFET. FinFET transistors provide lower dynamic power consumption (due to flatter I-V curves), improved control... » read more

Analog Migration Equals Redesign


Analog design has never been easy. Engineers can spend their entire careers focused just on phase-locked loops (PLLs), because to get them right the functionality of circuits need to be understood in depth, including how they respond across different process corners and different manufacturing processes. In the finFET era, those challenges have only intensified for analog circuits. Reuse, fo... » read more

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