Semiconductor industry sets out research needed to advance emerging technologies

A coalition of leaders from the global tech, defense, and aerospace industries, led by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), today released a report identifying the key areas of scientific research needed to advance innovation in semiconductor technology and fulfill the promise of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and supercomputing. The report, titled Semiconductor Research Opportunities: An Industry Vision and Guide, also calls for robust government and industry investments in research to unlock new technologies beyond conventional, silicon-based semiconductors and to advance next-generation semiconductor manufacturing methods.

“Semiconductor technology is foundational to America’s innovation infrastructure and global technology leadership,” said John Neuffer, president and CEO of SIA, which represents U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research. “Our industry has pushed Moore’s Law to levels once unfathomable, enabling technologies that have driven economic growth and transformed society. Now, as it becomes increasingly challenging and costly to maintain the breakneck pace of putting more transistors on the same size of silicon real estate, industry, academia, and government must intensify research partnerships to explore new frontiers of semiconductor innovation and to foster the continued growth of emerging technologies. Taking swift action to implement the recommendations from the Vision report will help usher in a new era of semiconductor technology and keep America at the head of the class in technological advancement.”

Neuffer also noted concern in the tech, research, and academic communities about proposed cuts to basic scientific research outlined in the Trump Administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget blueprint. Basic scientific research funded through agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science has yielded tremendous dividends, helping launch technologies that underpin America’s economic strength and global competiveness. The U.S. semiconductor industry invests about one-fifth of revenue each year in R&D – the highest share of any industry. Neuffer expressed the semiconductor industry’s readiness to work with the Administration and Congress to enact a budget that embraces the strategic importance of research investments to America’s continued economic and technological strength.

“Continued and predictable advancements in semiconductor technology have fueled the growth of many industries, including those historically based on mechanics such as automotive,” said Ken Hansen, president & CEO of SRC. “As the rate of dimensional scaling has slowed, the need to reinvigorate the investment in semiconductor research has become increasingly clear. Now is the time for industry, government, and academia to double down their resources and efforts to ensure the pace of renewal continues. Alternative strategies and techniques to the traditional scaling for performance are now being explored by SRC. Furthermore, with the support of SIA, SRC is building research programs that align with the Vision report, including complimentary technologies such as advanced packaging and communications. An infusion of funding is vital to expand the research breadth beyond the historical focus areas, enabling the industry to keep its promise of a continuous stream of products with improved performance at reduced cost. As industries look to future areas of growth and innovation, SIA and SRC are laying the groundwork for new discoveries through fundamental research.”

The Vision report is the culmination of work by a diverse group of industry experts and leaders, including chief technology officers at numerous leading semiconductor companies, who came together over a nine-month period in 2016-2017 to identify areas in which research is essential to progress. The report, which will be updated periodically moving forward, has active participation from the industry’s leading chip makers, fabless companies, IP providers, equipment and material suppliers, and research organizations. It will serve as a foundational guide for defining the semiconductor industry’s future research paths in 14 distinct but complimentary research areas. These areas, outlined in the Vision report, are as follows:

1. Advanced Devices, Materials, and Packaging2. Interconnect Technology and Architecture

3. Intelligent Memory and Storage

4. Power Management

5. Sensor and Communication Systems

6. Distributed Computing and Networking

7. Cognitive Computing

8. Bio-Influenced Computing and Storage9. Advanced Architectures and Algorithms

10. Security and Privacy

11. Design Tools, Methodologies, and Test

12. Next-Generation Manufacturing Paradigm

13. Environmental Health and Safety: Materials and Processes

14. Innovative Metrology and Characterization

 

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