This issue of Tech Design Forum takes manufacturing as its main focus—as is entirely appropriate in the run up to a Design Automation Conference (DAC) that will be marked by the roll-out of the 28/32nm process node to the wider community.
We have contributions this issue from both main foundry groups, TSMC and GlobalFoundries, and we also take a look further out at some of the ‘green’ challenges (both environmental and financial) now facing the semiconductor industry. It is a bit difficult to argue that your devices are saving massive amounts of energy, if they are consuming ever more to actually fabricate.
If you’re reading this before heading to DAC, I would like to flag up a couple of parts of the program that particularly caught my eye. The decision to go with more compact, shorter tutorials is a good one, and I hope it works for the event. Day-long classes do have their place, but DAC has always had a more generalist flavor, so it strikes me as smart that the conference is now looking to provide broad-based learning platforms rather than highly detailed schooling for the few.
And while Woz will inevitably get star billing, it will be interesting to hear the keynote on EDA’s future from Gadi Singer in light of the chip giant’s decision to throw its weight fully behind finFETs (or in Intel-speak, ‘tri-gate’). What might that mean for the kind of tools the world’s biggest chipmaker requires?
At a general level though, DACs are always especially interesting as we head out of a downturn, even more so after one as severe as that we’ve just experienced. Some innovations that were held back from the slack market get released, and you also get a sense of where companies see the sweet spots for design work.
Meanwhile, as we approach the summer vacation, I’d also like to remind you about our own upcoming Tech Design Forum events, details of which are on the website (www.techdesignforums.com). These culminate in our return to Santa Clara, California on September 8th, where both the show and the latest edition of the magazine will appear with a strong focus again on verification (and hence its absence this time out).
Finally, when you check out those dates, don’t forget to take a look around the new website. We’re now updating it on a rolling basis with more technical articles, blogs, and other useful information. As with the journal, we really value your feedback.