I used my secret powers (being a blogger will get you a press pass) to go to the first day of the SPIE conference on advanced lithography a couple of weeks ago. Everything that happens to with process nodes seems to be driven by lithography, and everything that happens in EDA is driven by semiconductor process. It is the place to find out if people believe EUV is going to be real (lots of doubt), how about e-beam, is directed self-assembly really a thing.
The keynote was by William Siegle... Read More
The most interesting session at the Linley Tech Data Center Conference last month was the last one, on Designing Power Efficient Servers. What this was really about was whether ARM would have any success in the server market and what Intel's response might be. This is something of importance to the whole semiconductor ecosystem since, at heart, it is also about IDM versus foundry. And with Altera announcing that it would be using Intel as a foundry at 14nm the world is changing.
Datacenters are... Read More
At the Common Platform Technology Forum there were a number of presentations by people from IBM about Silicon and Carbon Nanowires/tubes.
So what is a silicon nanowire? It is basically a FET where the active element is a wire 3-20nm in diameter. So where a FinFET has the gate wrapped around 3 sides of the transistor, a nanowire (NW) has it wrapped around all four. In essence, the wire runs through the middle of the gate.
There seem to be three issues about building a silicon nanowire.... Read More
As you know, I've been a bit of a bear about what is happening to wafer costs at 20nm and below. At the Common Platform Technology Forum last week there were a number of people talking about this in presentations and at Harvey Jones's "fireside chat". At the press lunch I asked about this. There are obviously lots of technical issues to address to get to 10nm and below, and I don't want to underestimate them, but at some point an important question is "at what cost." Historically, with... Read More
DAC is expanding its program in memory of Richard Newton to assist young students to attend DAC. Since DAC is the biggest and most important conference in EDA, it is important that students working in the area come to DAC and are not prevented from doing so by financial constraints. DAC mitigates these financial limitations by providing partial support for the expenses of attending DAC. In addition, DAC sponsors various activities during DAC that ensure that the fellows have a richer... Read More
I was at DesignCon in Santa Clara today and listened to Jonah Alben of NVIDIA's keynote on what their approach is to improving design methodology. He started by pointing out that most companies underinvest in EDA (and he includes NVIDIA in this). Partially it is complaceny: that last chip taped out so we know we can do it again. Partially it is getting used to the quirks of the methodology: we don't want to change. And partially it is a tradeoff since people working on methodology are not... Read More
The Austin area is famous for great barbecue. But you used to need a car (and a lot of time) to really experience the best and make your road trips to Lexington, Lockhart, Luling, Llano, and more. But now there is Franklin Barbecue in downtown Austin. it is at 900 East 11th Street which is a 20 minute walk from the convention center (work up an appetite). They open at 11am but you can expect lines. They stop serving when they run out of food which is around 1pm.
My son was recently sent to... Read More
Over at the GSA Forum website I have an article on the history of the semiconductor industry. It is actually based on a couple of a number of blogs I published last year but edited down a lot and tightened up. Since the start of the year seems to be the time for predictions, here are the last couple of paragraphs, which are a look to the future. No surprises here for anyone who has been reading my stuff, I'm not as optimistic as some people:
Looking to the future, Moore's law is under... Read More
Semico Research recently published a detailed forecast and analysis of the analog market. But the headline numbers are publicly available. The analog market totaled $40B in revenue in 2012 and is expected to grow by 9.5% in dollar value and 6.4% in unit growth into 2013. That is a healthy chunk of the whole semiconductor market, especially since it excludes all the mixed-signal SoCs which are primarily digital chips that contain some on-chip analog IP.
This seems to be driven by two main... Read More
DesignCon 2013 is January 28th-31st at the Santa Clara Convention Center. There is a full conference program and also exhibits (just on 29-30th). The detailed schedule for all the conference tracks is here.
There are 3 keynotes:
Monday from 12.30 to 1pm Bill Swift, VP Engineering at Cisco.
Tuesday from 12 to 12.30 Jonah Alben, Senior VP Engineering at NVIDIA
Wednesday from 12 to 12.30 Mike Santori, Business and Technology Fellow at Texas Instruments
Registration for DesignCon is here.
EDAC announced the revenue numbers for Q3 of this year. Overall, third quarter 2012 EDA revenues increased 4.9% compared to the same period in 2011. Total revenue for Q3 was $1619.9 million. Here is a breakdown by category and by region.
Revenue ($ Millions)
IC Physical Design & Verification
PCB & MCM
Revenue ($ Millions)
%... Read More
For those of you in Europe, or thinking about going to DATE, the program is now available. DATE, Design Automation and Test Europe, is in Grenoble this year from March 18th to 22nd. Monday March 18th is tutorials and Friday March 22nd is for workshops, the conference proper is Tuesday-Thursday.
On Tuesday there are two keynote speakers. Dr Benedetto Vigna, VP of ST Microelectronics will give a presentation on Smart Systems for the Internet of Things. Professor Massoud Pedram of University of... Read More
The 26th Conference on VLSI Design will be in Pune, India from January 5th to 10th at the Hyatt Regency. Details on the conference here. Registration here.
I happened to be involved in the first of these conferences, which was held in Edinburgh where I was wrapping up my PhD. It was in the considerably less palatial surroundings of the University's Appleton Tower before it was modernized and the conference was run on a shoe-string. We would have been surprised to have a time-traveler come back... Read More
Bob Bentley of Intel told the story of formal verification within the company last month at the Jasper User Group Meeting. His basic philosophy is that proving correctness is much better than testing for correctness. As Djikstra said in the context of software development, "testing shows the presence of bugs not their absence." Bob started off giving Intel's policy of not endorsing vendors and thus saying nothing should be taken that way. In fact Intel use a mixture of internal... Read More
Bookings for DAC hotels in Austin are now open. The easiest way to make reservations is to do it online here. You can also do it by fax or mail (but not phone). Details are on the DAC hotel page. The DAC hotels (and prices) are as follows:
Omni Austin Hotel
Courtyard by Marriott Austin Downtown/ Convention Center
Residence Inn Austin Downtown/ Convention Center
Hampton Inn & Suites Austin -... Read More