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IEF 2013: New markets and opportunities in sub-20nm era!

October 15, 2013 1 comment

Future Horizons hosted the 22nd Annual International Electronics Forum, in association with IDA Ireland, on Oct. 2-4, 2013, at Dublin, Blanchardstown, Ireland. The forum was titled ‘New Markets and Opportunities in the Sub-20nm Era: Business as Usual OR It’s Different This Time.” Here are excerpts from some of the sessions. Those desirous of finding out much more should contact Malcolm Penn, CEO, Future Horizons.

Liam BritnellLiam Britnell, European manager and Research Scientist, Bluestone Global Tech (BGT) Materials spoke on Beyond Graphene: Heterostructures and Other Two-Dimensional Materials.

The global interest in graphene research has facilitated our understanding of this rather unique material. However, the transition from the laboratory to factory has hit some challenging obstacles. In this talk I will review the current state of graphene research, focusing on the techniques which allow large scale production.

I will then discuss various aspects of our research which is based on more complex structures beyond graphene. Firstly, hexagonal boron nitride can be used as a thin dielectric material where electrons can tunnel through. Secondly, graphene-boron nitride stacks can be used as tunnelling transistor devices with promising characteristics. The same devices show interesting physics, for example, negative differential conductivity can be found at higher biases. Finally, graphene stacked with thin semiconducting layers which show promising results in photodetection.

I will conclude by speculating the fields where graphene may realistically find applications and discuss the role of the National Graphene Institute in commercializing graphene.

Jean-Rene Lequepeys, VP Silicon Components, CEA-Leti, spoke on  Advanced Semiconductor Technologies Enabling High-Performance Jean-Rene Lequepeysand Energy Efficient Computing.

The key challenge for future high-end computing chips is energy efficiency in addition to traditional challenges such as yield/cost, static power, data transfer. In 2020, in order to maintain at an acceptable level the overall power consumption of all the computing systems, a gain in term of power efficiency of 1000 will be required.

To reach this objective, we need to work not only at process and technology level, but to propose disruptive multi-processor SoC architecture and to make some major evolutions on software and on the development of
applications. Some key semiconductor technologies will definitely play a key role such as: low power CMOS technologies, 3D stacking, silicon photonics and embedded non-volatile memory.

To reach this goal, the involvement of semiconductor industries will be necessary and a new ecosystem has to be put in place for establishing stronger partnerships between the semiconductor industry (IDM, foundry), IP provider, EDA provider, design house, systems and software industries.

Andile NgcabaAndile Ngcaba, CEO, Convergence Partners, spoke on Semiconductor’s Power and Africa – An African Perspective.

This presentation looks at the development of the semiconductor and electronics industries from an African perspective, both globally and in Africa. Understanding the challenges that are associated with the wide scale adoption of new electronics in the African continent.

Electronics have taken over the world, and it is unthinkable in today’s modern life to operate without utilising some form of electronics on a daily basis. Similarly, in Africa the development and adoption of electronics and utilisation of semiconductors have grown exponentially. This growth on the African continent was due to the rapid uptake of mobile communications. However, this has placed in stark relief the challenges facing increased adoption of electronics in Africa, namely power consumption.

This background is central to the thesis that the industry needs to look at addressing the twin challenges of low powered and low cost devices. In Africa there are limits to the ability to frequently and consistently charge or keep electronics connected to a reliable electricity grid. Therefore, the current advances in electronics has resulted in the power industry being the biggest beneficiary of the growth in the adoption of electronics.

What needs to be done is for the industry to support and foster research on this subject in Africa, working as a global community. The challenge is creating electronics that meet these cost and power challenges. Importantly, the solution needs to be driven by the semiconductor industry not the power industry. Focus is to be placed on operating in an off-grid environment and building sustainable solutions to the continued challenge of the absence of reliable and available power.

It is my contention that Africa, as it has done with the mobile communications industry and adoption of LED lighting, will leapfrog in terms of developing and adopting low powered and cost effective electronics.

Jo De Boeck, senior VP and CTO, IMEC, discussed Game-Changing Technology Roadmaps For Lifescience. Jo De Boeck

Personalized, preventive, predictive and participatory healthcare is on the horizon. Many nano-electronics research groups have entered the quest for more efficient health care in their mission statement. Electronic systems are proposed to assist in ambulatory monitoring of socalled ‘markers’ for wellness and health.

New life science tools deliver the prospect of personal diagnostics and therapy in e.g., the cardiac, neurological and oncology field. Early diagnose, detailed and fast screening technology and companioning devices to deliver the evidence of therapy effectiveness could indeed stir a – desperately needed – healthcare revolution. This talk addresses the exciting trends in ‘PPPP’ health care and relates them to an innovation roadmap in process technology, electronic circuits and system concepts.
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Intel on EC’s ruling! Wonder how all of this will help consumers!

May 14, 2009 Comments off

A lot of folks out there were waiting for this post! 🙂 Hope I haven’t disappointed them. As always, I love playing neutral!

Most of you, I believe, are aware of the European Commission’s ruling yesterday, where it imposed a hefty fine of EUR1.06 billion on Intel for abuse of dominant position, and also ordered Intel to cease illegal practices.

Intel president and CEO, Paul Otellini also issued a statement regarding the EC’s decision. Later, AMD too, came out with its own statement, where it also highlighted some other instances of Intel’s practices (click the link).

Thereafter, I’ve been reading a whole lot of posts on the Internet and elsewhere. Apparently, it has been a busy 24 hours for the industry and a whole lot of people!

I have friends at both AMD and Intel, and naturally requested to speak with them. Intel has already spoken with me, and I hope to have AMD here soon! 🙂

Intel’s take on EC’s ruling; to appeal
An Intel company spokesperson said: “We respect the Commission and its procedures. However, we believe that the decision is wrong because it fails to consider all of the evidence and we will appeal. Among other mistakes, the decision ignores the reality that the microprocessor market is highly competitive and works to the benefit of consumers worldwide. Regulators should be in favor of the lower prices that result from discounting. Under the Commission’s rules, Intel is entitled to ask the court to review the decision.”

All of this leaves me with a similar thought as before — what course of action should the global semiconductor industry now take? Will this EC fine on Intel go along in any way in improving the microprocessor market? How will this ruling help AMD improve its position and possibly affect Intel’s position in the market, especially in Europe? We are talking about improving competitiveness here!

The Intel spokesperson said: “We believe this is a retrograde step that has the potential to dampen innovation and competition in the market. Ultimately, it is consumers who stand to lose out, through higher prices. Computing power that cost $1 in 2000 now costs US 1 cent today. This came about as a result of vigorous competition in the microprocessor market segment.”

Yes, what AMD seeks to get out of this remains to be seen, and I have consulted them as well. Am awaiting its responses, which should be here tomorrow, hopefully!

The Intel spokesperson continued: “It has long been our viewpoint that when AMD has performed well, the market rewarded them; when AMD hasn’t performed, the market has acted accordingly. AMD, the sole complainant in this case, is alive, healthy, and claims to be expanding its business.”

Quite so! AMD has an aggressive product roadmap, which it revealed last November! It now has to religiously deliver on schedule, and then try to grab better market share. I’ve seen some of its latest products and those are quite good!

Will this ruling benefit consumers?
I have some other queries! How will this EC ruling benefit the consumers? After all, I am definitely a very choosy consumer, and am sure there are millions of such folks, like me, out there.

Therefore, will the EC ruling in any way influence consumers to buy more rival products, other than Intel’s? AMD has welcomed this EC fine, and that is quite all right, but how will all of this help the industry or the chip market? Or even help companies to either improve or worse, reduce market shares?

The Intel spokesperson said: “It won’t! Among other mistakes, the EU’s decision ignores the reality that the microprocessor market is highly competitive and works to the benefit of consumers worldwide. Regulators should be in favor of the lower prices that result from discounting.

“We intend to continue to compete vigorously by offering customers and consumers the best products at the best prices, and, during the appeal, we will do that within the context of the Commission’s decision.” Now, to see what AMD has to say!

To my friends on both sides — Intel and AMD — just focus on your core businesses! 🙂 A request!

Categories: AMD, EC, EC ruling, European Commission, Intel Tags: ,
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