Associate Editor WaferNews
Does CMP stand for “Can’t Make it Polish?” Is ASP a venomous snake? When is a semiconductor not an IC? With all the gobbledygook in the semiconductor industry, it’s easy to see why even people who’ve been in the business since Moses was a process engineer can be easily confused. That’s why – with the goal of cutting misuse and misinterpretation – Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) has taken on the task of creating an industrywide dictionary.
“This industry has more acronyms than the military,” analyst Bill McClean commented. “There are so many terms and definitions. It’s confusing to an outsider, and even if you’re inside the industry … it’s very difficult. People are just bombarded with so much information that everything runs together. The more [standardized language] you can implement, the better.”
Understandably, McClean, president of IC Insights, thought that one of the most maligned bits of language he comes across is the incorrect swapping of semiconductor and integrated circuit (IC). McClean said they are often used interchangeably, when in actuality discrete devices and integrated circuits both fall into the semiconductor category. Most people overlook discrete semiconductors, he said.
Adding his two cents was Dan Hutcheson, president of VLSI Research, who said wafer fabrication was often used inaccurately in place of wafer processing.
“The industry uses them as synonyms,” Hutcheson said. “Grammatically, only wafer makers fabricate wafers. Chipmakers process them.”
He also noted that the terms test and inspection are often used interchangeably, when in actuality, they mean two different things.
Analyst Klaus-Dieter Rinnen of Dataquest said Moore’s Law is commonly misinterpreted. “People think it’s a law instead of an observation or a vision.”
He also mentioned that people sometimes (separately) muddle the meanings of the abbreviations IP and IT, saying they are used “loosy goosy.” IP itself is used for intellectual property, Internet protocol and sometimes other things.
A preliminary version of the dictionary will be available within the next six months, Tony Salmon, SEMI’s director of business development said, with future revisions already planned.