Semiconductor leaders see massive industry transformation
The semiconductor industry is undergoing massive transformation as the rise in mobile computing, changes to the fabless-foundry model, uncertainties in technical innovation, and global macroeconomic trends become the dominant forces in 2013 and beyond, according to industry leaders speaking at the SEMI Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS).
Ajit Manocha, CEO of GlobalFoundries, during his keynote presentation discussed the dynamic technology and economic needs of mobile computing that is driving new approaches to the chip design-to-production cycle. Calling it "Foundry 2.0," he sees outsourced semiconductor manufacturing moving toward a more IDM-like model, creating new collaboration models and techniques to close the gap between process teams at foundries and design teams at the fabless companies. With daunting technical challenges like 3D stacking, 450mm fabs, new transistor architectures, multi-patterning, and the uncertainties to lithography-based scaling, product development paths with virtual teams will evolve and adapt rapidly in the coming months and years.
With new fabs now costing upwards of $8 billion and leading-edge manufacturing investments expected to exceed $40 billion this year alone, global economic trends and forces ??? increasingly influenced by uncertain consumer spending in both developed and emerging markets ??? have never been important to the semiconductor ecosystem. Dr. John Williams, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, said "Many businesses are locked into a paralyzing state of anxiety."
Williams used the ISS conference to lessen uncertainty and anxiety in the capital markets, pledging to keep interest rates near zero until the unemployment rate drops to 6.5%, as long as inflation expectations do not climb above 2.5%.
Bruce Kasman, chief economist and managing director of global research at JP Morgan, shared a positive economic outlook, especially in the second half of the year, that is "bumpy, better and less risky." He sees Asia leading the economic rebound, as China demand accelerates with the change in leadership and improved access to credit. University of Texas Austin Churchill scholar, Matthew Gertken, however, discussed the simmering "Asian cold war" developing as territorial disputes with China generate an emerging "containment policy" by many of China's neighbors.
Solid State Technology | Volume 56 | Issue 1 | January 2013