Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

American Foundries Act; GF 12LP+ FinFET; FlexTech FHE projects.


The American Foundries Act, a bipartisan initiative to revive U.S. leadership in the global microelectronics sector, was announced by U.S. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer from New York. “The economic and national security risks posed by relying too heavily on foreign semiconductor suppliers cannot be ignored, and Upstate New York, which has a robust semiconductor sector, is the perfect place to grow this industry by leaps and bounds,” said Senator Schumer. “America must continue to invest in our domestic semiconductor industry, including companies like GlobalFoundries, ON Semiconductor, IBM and Cree right here in New York, in order to keep good-paying, high-tech American manufacturing jobs here at home. We need to ensure our domestic microelectronics industry can safely and securely supply our military, intelligence agencies, and other government needs. This is essential to our national security and to U.S. leadership in this critical industry.”

Edge, cloud, data center
The National Research Cloud, a U.S. bipartisan initiative to give access to tech giants data centers and public data sets got backing from major universities and tech companies this week, according to The New York Times. The idea, still being hashed out in U.S. Congress, is to first start with a task force to make a plan.

Designed for machine learning at the edge, Eta Compute’s ultra-low power AI sensor board — the ECM3532 AI Sensor Board — includes Eta’s TENSAI SoC, built-in data acquisition, a pressure sensor, temperature sensor, one 6-axis MEMS accelerometer, a gyroscope, two PDM microphones, Bluetooth connectivity (A31R118 from ABOV Semiconductor), an expansion connector, and an embedded battery socket. The form factor (1.4 inch x 1.4 inch) makes it useful in IoT deployments and field testing application prototypes, says Eta in a press release. It can be used in voice activation and voice command products, asset tracking and monitoring, and predictive maintenance in industrial products.

’s telecom technology companies Huawei and ZTE have been officially designated as a national security threat to the United States by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The official designation means Huawei and ZTE equipment is not eligible for federal funds that have been allocated to help bring broadband coverage to underserved rural areas of the U.S. India is also discouraging companies from using Huawei and ZTE after recent clashes between the two countries occurred on their border.

Ericsson revealed two antenna-integrated radio (AIR) solutions to its radio system portfolio that can add 5G mid-band to existing base station sites. Hybrid AIR and Interleaved AIR, the latest additions for 5G, don’t require extra room in base stations by combining antenna-integrated radios and multiband passive antenna technology in one enclosure.

Electric car company Tesla is now the most valuable car company, surpassing Toyota.

has added a customizable qualification package for the Basic Tool Qualification process required in avionics to meet Design Assurance Levels (DAL) A and B under DO-254. The package is part of Aldec’s ALINT-PRO.

AI, machine learning
12LP+ FinFET solution — which the company says it optimized for AI developers using learnings gleaned from current clients — is qualified and ready for production at GF’s Fab 8 in Malta, New York. Based on 12LP, which GF’s AI clients, including Tenstorrent and Enflame, have been using, 12LP+ ups the SoC-level logic performance by 20% and logic area scaling by 10%. GF updated the standard cell library and added an interposer for 2.5D packaging and a low-power 0.5V Vmin SRAM bitcell. IP validations include PCIe 3/4/5 and USB 2/3 to host processors, HBM2/2e, DDR/LPDDR4/4x and GDDR6 to external memory, and chip-to-chip interconnect for chiplets. The solution includes GF’s AI design reference package and co-development, packaging, and post-fab turnkey services. 12LP+ tape-outs are in the works for the second half of 2020. “The power efficiency of AI systems — in particular how many operations you can wrest from a watt of power — will be among the most critical factors a company considers when deciding to invest in data centers or edge AI applications. Our new 12LP+ solution tackles this challenge head-on. It has been engineered and optimized, obsessively so, with AI in mind.” said Amir Faintuch, senior vice president and general manager of Computing and Wired Infrastructure at GF in a press release.

Europe’s market for artificial intelligence used in drug discovery reached $108.6 million in 2019, according to ResearchAndMarkets.com. The market will grow by 28.7% over 2020 through 2026. In Asia-Pacific, the same market will grow by 33.2% over 2020 through 2026, because AI will be adopted quickly in pharmaceutical industry, according to ReasearchAndMarkets.com. The North American market will grow by 29.5% annually and reach $894.1 million by 2026.

Intel designed and launched an artificial intelligence (AI) associate degree (a 2-year degree program) at Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) in Arizona, in the United States.

Ridding the planet of COVID-19 is the worthy goal this year at the third annual APAC HPC-AI Competition, sponsored by the HPC-AI Advisory Council (HPCAIAC) working with the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore. Thirty student teams are competing in the challenge, which will test skills in natural language processing (BERT) and climate simulation (NEMO). One challenge requires competitors to pick an AI or HPC application with the highest potential to help researchers “end the pandemic,” according to a press release.

Dialog Semiconductor
completed its acquisition of Adesto Technologies Corporation. “This acquisition immediately adds scale to our Industrial IoT business, providing our expanded customer base with a broader portfolio of differentiated industrial products,” said Jalal Bagherli, CEO of Dialog, in a press release.

MediaTek launched its new chips in the smartphone gaming-focused G series –— the MediaTek Helio G25 and G35, with MediaTek HyperEngine game technology. The chips are powered by Arm Cortex-A53 CPUs.

The sensor company ams has a new 16-bit, 256-channel digital readout IC for medical use in digital X-ray flat panel detectors (FPDs) that gives clearer pictures at lower doses of radiation. Lower doses of radiation are better for people health. The AS5850A IC is a charge-to-digital converter with noise as low as little as 500 electrons at 2pC and 30pF. The lower the noise, the better the image, but less stringent noise modes can be used for fluoroscopy. The chip is also programmable at 20µs, 28.5µs, 40µs and 80µs line times for different medical equipment and uses in static and dynamic digital X-ray scanners, digital radiography, mammography, fluoroscopy, and interventional imaging. Chip on flex is the packaging but other options will be available.

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., unveiled the new Snapdragon Wear 4100 platforms, (4100+ and 4100), designed for connected smartwatches and using ultra-low power hybrid architecture. Tesla is working on mobile molecule printers for COVID-19 vaccine developer CureVac.

Infineon and Blumio are now collaborating to develop a wearable, non-invasive radar-based blood pressure sensor. The finished product will be a kit with Infineon’s radar chipset and dev board with Blumio’s software and algorithms.

SEMI’s FlexTech
community is embarking on three new sensor projects to advance FHE (flexible hybrid electronics). Collaborating with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), FlexTech will invest $1.3 million of the $2.6 million project total. Three teams of universities and companies so far have been selected. All projects are 18 months in length. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Veeco will produce a foldable, high-resolution microdisplay on PDMS substrate. The goal is to create high-quality GaN µLEDs at 100µm size, with a greater than 200 pixels per inch (PPI) resolution, and to develop a process that is low cost. University of Colorado (CU) and PARC, A Xerox company, want to make soft robotics, such as octopus tentacles or elephant trunks, using soft actuators and flexible electronic control circuits. They will demo of synthetic muscular hydrostat integrating electronics and soft actuator modules capable of manipulating objects. For flexible health monitoring sensors, University of Washington (UW) will demonstrate high-temperature, inflexible inorganic sensors on low-temperature flexible electronics using a low-cost, fully printed process using low-toxicity materials. SEMI FlexTech is looking for more project ideas. Submit new project proposals via a white paper no later than July 10, 2020. Download the RFP and review the topics.

People & Companies
Silicon Integration Initiative (SI2)
, the semiconductor design tools research and development join venture, announced its 2020-2021 board of directors. Joining the Si2 board are:

  • Juan C. Rey, vice president of Engineering, Mentor, a Siemens Business
  • Pankaj Kukkal, vice president, EDA, Emulation and Post-Silicon Engineering, Qualcomm Technologies
  • Jung Yun Choi, corporate vice president, Electronics Design Technology, Samsung Electronics

Re-elected board members are:

  • Vic Kulkarni, vice president and chief strategist, Ansys
  • Stanley Krolikoski, fellow, Ecosystems, Cadence Design Systems
  • Richard Trihy, vice president, Design Enablement, GLOBALFOUNDRIES
  • Roger Carpenter, hardware engineer, Google
  • Leon Stok, vice president, Electronic Design Automation Technologies, IBM
  • Rahul Goyal, vice president, Intel Corp., director, R&D Strategic Enablement
  • David DeMaria, corporate vice president, Strategic Initiatives and Market Intelligence, Synopsys
  • Keith Green, distinguished member of the technical staff, Texas Instruments

Cree is donating $3.5M to SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) in New York state for STEM education, specifically a $2,000,000 scholarship program to be spent 10 years scholarship and two endowed faculty chairs for $1,500,000 spent over 5 years, named after Cree cofounders Dr. John Edmond and Dr. John Palmour.

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