Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers and OEMs IC Insights has released its rankings of the 25 largest wafer capacity leaders in terms of monthly installed capacity in 200mm-equivalents as of December 2019. Samsung was in first place, followed by TSMC, Micron, SK Hynix, and Kioxia, formerly Toshiba Memory, according to IC Insights. Combined capacity of the top five companies represented 53% of total global wafer capa... » read more

Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing


AI/Edge Arm putting AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning (ML) on the Cortex-M processor by offering IP for a microNPU for Cortex-M. The company says in a press release that it will deliver a 480x uplift in ML performance. The new Cortex-M IP is Arm Ethos-U55 NPU, which Arm says is the industry’s first microNPU (neural processing unit). Arm is hoping the new IP will start an expl... » read more

Logic Chip, Heal Thyself


If a single fault can kill a logic chip, that doesn’t bode well for longevity of complex multi-chip systems. Obsolescence in chips is not just an industry ploy to sell more chips. It is a fact of physics that chips don’t last more than a few years, especially if overheated, and hit with higher voltage than it can stand. The testing industry does a great job finding defects during manufac... » read more

More Data, More Problems In Automotive


The race toward increasing levels of autonomy is being hampered by competitive concerns over sharing data across the automotive supply chain. Pushing past the initial ADAS levels into full autonomy is expected to take more than a decade, but the infrastructure for those systems, and making sure all assisted and autonomous vehicles work with other vehicles, is under development today. Still, ... » read more

Failure Analysis Becoming Critical To Reliability


Failure analysis is rapidly becoming a complex, costly and increasingly time-consuming must-do task as demand rises for reliability across a growing range of devices used in markets ranging from automotive to 5G. From the beginning, failure analysis has been about finding out what went wrong in semiconductor design and manufacturing. Different approaches, tools and equipment have improved ov... » read more

Hardware Attack Surface Widening


An expanding attack surface in hardware, coupled with increasing complexity inside and outside of chips, is making it far more difficult to secure systems against a variety of new and existing types of attacks. Security experts have been warning about the growing threat for some time, but it is being made worse by the need to gather data from more places and to process it with AI/ML/DL. So e... » read more

Making 3D Structures And Packages More Reliable


The move to smaller vertical structures and complex packaging schemes is straining existing testing approaches, particularly in heterogeneous combinations on a single chip and in multi-die packages. The complexity of these devices has exploded with the slowdown in scaling, as chipmakers turn to architectural solutions and new transistor structures rather than just relying on shrinking featur... » read more

Automakers Changing Tactics On Reliability


Automakers are beginning to rethink how to ensure automotive electronics will remain reliable over their projected lifetimes, focusing their efforts on redundancy, more data-centric architectures and continued testing throughout the life of a vehicle. It is still too early to really know how automotive chips actually will perform over the next 15 to 20 years, especially AI logic developed at... » read more

Gaps Emerge In Test And Analytics


Sensor and process drift, increased design complexity, and continued optimization of circuitry throughout its lifetime are driving test and analytics in new directions, requiring a series of base comparisons against which equipment and processes can be measured. In the design world this type of platform is called a digital twin, but in the test world there is no equivalent today. And as more... » read more

Testing In Context Gaining Ground


Testing in context is beginning to gain wider appeal as chip complexity increases, and as ICs are deployed in more safety-critical and mission-critical applications. While design in context has been the norm for SoCs for some time, a similar approach in test has been slow going. Cell-aware testing technology was first described a decade ago, and since then its adoption has been modest. But w... » read more

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