GSA forms technology steering committee to guide working groups

October 16, 2012 – The Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA) says it has formed a Technology Steering Committee to help address key business and technology areas of interest to its members, and "encourage the advancement and adoption of leading technology and practices."

The committee will meet quarterly to "provide general oversight and guidance to the GSA’s working groups, committees, and research and events, as it pertains to key technological trends and their implications on the technology ecosystem," according to the GSA. The committee also will be charged with keeping the GSA’s focus aligned with key technologies and practices having the most positive impact on its members. Topics range from the technologically specific such as 3D IC packaging (for which the GSA has had a working group since 2009) to broader themes such as taxation and education.

The steering committee is chaired by Open Silicon top exec Naveed Sherwani, and seats representatives from two dozen companies spanning the fabless, foundry, and equipment supplier sectors: Altera, Applied Materials, ASE, Amkor, Cadence, CSR, eSilicon, GlobalFoundries, IBM, IDT, Intersil, LSI, Microsemi, Open-Silicon, PMC-Sierra, Rambus, SanDisk, Silicon Labs, SMIC, Spreadtrum, SuVolta, Synopsys, and TSMC.

The Technology Steering Committee is expected to help companies across the semiconductor ecosystem "address business and technology concerns specifically, where they intersect and their implications in this industry," stated Jodi Shelton, co-founder and president of GSA. "The committee will support, encourage and promote entrepreneurship, as well as accelerate industry adoption of emerging technologies and practices that are most significant to GSA members and their constituents."

The first TSC meeting was held Aug 8 at Open Silicon in Milpitas, CA, site of all the quarterly meetings. The next one is scheduled for Nov. 7.

Update 10/16: Jodi Shelton summed up the reason and timing for the formation of this steering committee: "The participants within the Technology Steering Committee are all senior technical executives with tremendous visibility and insight into the trends of the industry. We simply want to leverage this visibility and insight." Forming a steering committee to oversee the GSA’s working groups helps "bring in fresh perspectives from a different angle" and keep momentum moving forward, she explained.

Takeaways from that inaugural TSC meeting were to decide on key areas of focus, key individual technology & broader topics toward which the TSC will be "steering" the GSA’s efforts:

2.5-3D. Technical readiness (e.g. EDA, equipment, I/O standards, etc.); supply chain optimization (e.g. foundries want complete ownership to guarantee yields, but others may want to add their own disintegrated portion of expertise); and collaborative innovation (who will create and own IPs/standards, profit and loss sharing).

Beyond Moore. Roadmap challenges for 450mm wafer manufacturing (what the ecosystem needs to do to support this); technologies beyond CMOS and NAND; trends on cost and power; the effect of silicon convergence (integrating large systems, EDA challenges, what is the FPGA component, etc.); the roles of FinFETs and 3D wafers; how Beyond Moore can be effected with a limited number of players in fab development, and how this will effect fab development costs; will this drive further industry consolidation or opportunities for micro fabs; managing package equivalence and system costs, reference designs, software, support, etc.

IP. How can a limited number of vendors enable more shuttle and support, process, non-essential IP; make finding the right IP easier — if it exists; packaging and transferring quality; verifying IP, making it portable and usable.

More than Moore/Innovation in Legacy Nodes. What’s the solution for low-cost, heterogeneous integration for MEMS, simple analog blocks, and other drivers that may not necessarily scale to Moore’s Law? (e.g. 2D-2.5D-3D, which may or may not include TSVs) And how can the GSA’s working groups determine ways to improve efficiencies and innovations at the ≥90nm nodes, and leverage existing technology to support emerging markets?


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