3nm GAA process, compute-in-memory among highlights of ISSCC 2021

December 17, 2020 // By Peter Clarke
3nm GAA process, compute-in-memory among highlights of ISSCC 2021
In February 2021 the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) will be a virtual event but it will still offer plenty to interest engineers. Here follow selected highlights.

As there would be in a face-to-face ISSCC, there are plenty of tutorial sessions, short-courses and forums around the core technical program comprising some 36 sessions.

At the top of the ISSCC program invited plenary speakers usually reflect the pulse of the semiconductor industry. These year is no different with Mark Liu, executive chairman of TSMC, taking the stage first followed by Victor Peng, CEO of Xilinx.

TSMC is the most valuable semiconductor company by market capitalization (see TSMC becomes world's biggest chip company) and its boss intends to sing the praises of the foundry-fabless business model and point out how it has opened up access to semiconductor manufacturing. But Liu will also look to the future and rising significance of wider considerations than just monolithic integrated circuit design and manufacturing: from materials to chiplet packaging and systems engineering considerations.

Meanwhile Peng is also one of the men of the moment having negotiated the sales of Xilinx to AMD (see AMD values Xilinx at $35 billion in take-over bid). His keynote will look to that other era-defining trend; the adoption of machine learning computation, or as he calls it Adaptive Intelligence.

Below I will mention a few of what I consider to be highlights of the main technical program.

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