Functional Safety Issues Rising


Developing semiconductors for safety-critical markets such as automotive, industrial and medical involves a growing list of extra steps that need to be taken pre- and post-manufacturing to ensure product integrity, reliability and security. This is causing several significant changes: • Designs are becoming much more complicated because they require such features as failover and redundan... » read more

Thinking Much Bigger


For the better part of the past decade the focus has been on integrating an increasing number of smaller components on a piece of silicon. It's time to start thinking much bigger. While there is still plenty of work to be done building more powerful processors, or networks of connected processors on a chip or in a package, new opportunities are opening up in markets such as automotive, medic... » read more

Functional Safety For FPGA-Based Hardware Designs


Advances in design and manufacturing technology allow increased factory automation, where tasks are automatically performed by sophisticated equipment such as industrial robots. Manufacturing processes require fail-safe mechanisms to prevent human injury or costly downtime. With increasing sophistication and automation of the manufacturing processes, there is increasing need for error detection... » read more

How Reliable Are FinFETs?


Stringent safety requirements in the automotive and industrial sectors are forcing chipmakers to re-examine a number of factors that can impact reliability over the lifespan of a device. Many of these concerns are not new. Electrical overstress (EOS), electrostatic discharge (ESD) and [getkc id="160" kc_name="electromigration"] (EM) are well understood, and have been addressed by EDA tools f... » read more

Foundry Wars, Take Two


Samsung, GlobalFoundries, TSMC and Intel all have declared their intention to fill in nearly every node possible with multiple processes, different packaging options, and new materials. In fact, the only number that hasn't been taken so far is 9nm. It's not that one foundry's 10nm is the same as another's. Each company defines its nodes differently, and these days comparing nodes is almost m... » read more

What Next For OSATs


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss IC-packaging and business trends with Tien Wu, chief operating officer at Taiwan’s Advanced Semiconductor Engineering ([getentity id="22930" comment="ASE"]), the world’s largest outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) vendor. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What’s the outlook for the IC industry in 2017? Wu:... » read more

Sharing Information About Corner Cases


The definition of what is good enough when it comes to new technology is still evolving. In safety-critical applications, as well as a number of other areas such as drones or domestic robots, people will need to watch over all machines very closely rather than the other way around. While these machines may serve a useful purpose, they also need to be monitored to ensure they don't go too far as... » read more

The Price Of Fear


Fear sells, and judging from the attendance numbers and the messages coming out of this week's RSA Conference, it's selling quite well. Increasing connectedness comes at a significant price, and apparently lots of people are willing to pay that price. Security has become a huge and growing business. Attendance is one indicator. There were an estimated 40,000 attendees at this year's conferen... » read more

Racing To Design Chips Faster


A shift is underway to develop chips for more narrowly defined market segments, and in much smaller production runs. Rather than focusing on shrinking features and reducing cost per transistor by the billions of units, the emphasis behind this shift is less about scale and much more about optimization for specific markets and delivering those solutions more quickly. As automotive, consumer e... » read more

Time For Change


Semiconductor companies have been knocking on doors outside of the computer industry for the better part of two decades, pitching the value of digital and mixed-signal technology for improving efficiency in many market sectors. For most of that time, they received polite nods, occasional inquiries for more information and not much else. But over the past several years, those doors have open... » read more

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