Large displacements with very small geometries

The number of changes in the semiconductor industry is increasing and increasing. There are more innovations, in more places and in more applications.

What follows is a sneak peek at how many significant changes are afoot, where they’re taking place, and who’s being recognized for their efforts.

Quantum computing, but keep the math

The modern electronics industry is based on several levels of abstraction. Transistors connect to form logic gates, gates connect to form functional blocks, blocks connect to form integrated circuits, and so on down to an application programmer who doesn’t really need to know or care how transistors work.

If quantum computing is to become more than a curiosity for physicists, comparable methods must be developed to separate the operations that a quantum algorithm performs from the underlying mechanisms that make it work. Bob Coecke and Stefano Gogioso are taking a step in this direction with their current book “Quantum in Pictures”. It is an accessible introduction to the ZX calculus, a formalism for expressing the properties of quantum particles in terms of quantum information science.

Roadmap: The future of scaling is up

The semiconductor industry is now very familiar with the process implications of Moore’s Law and the demands of increasingly stringent requirements. Still, the conventional scaling section of the IEEE Devices and Systems Roadmap provides an invigorating clarity. Among other things, the roadmap expects ground rules scaling to reach its final limit by 2028, forcing a transition to 3D integration and vertical device architectures.

High-performance computing faces thermal power density limitations, while mobile computing is constrained by battery capacity and cost. Both will certainly provide the team here at Semiconductor Engineering with plenty of material for years to come.

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Fab analytics for resource efficiency

The sheer size of the semiconductor industry has made it one of the largest CO2 emitters in the world. Pragmatic Semiconductor argues that its FlexLogic technology can avoid many of the environmental impacts of traditional silicon-based devices, in part by using lower-GWP gases and process materials. His white paper on low-carbon manufacturing specifically details his own process, but argues that the same analytics essential to factory productivity and yield can help improve energy and resource efficiency.

Carver Mead wins the 2023 Kyoto Prize

The Kyoto Prize, created by Kyocera Corporation founder Kazuo Inamori, is an annual award honoring individuals who have made significant contributions in the fields of technology, science and the arts. Among many other contributions, Carver Mead – one of this year’s award winners – designed the first GaAs FET, was one of the first to study techniques for very large scale circuit integration, and was credited by Gordon Moore as the inventor of the term “Moore’s Law”. The annual fundraiser for the award is this week. Honorary lectures are archived here.

Smarter cars need more and smarter electronics

Truly autonomous vehicles may be in the future, but advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are definitely here. From parking assistants to “intelligent” cruise controls, the automotive computing segment is accelerating at breakneck speed. Analysts at Yole Group expect automotive semiconductor sales to double by 2028, and the ADAS segment in particular could nearly triple.

Katherine Derbyshire (all posts)

Katherine Derbyshire is Technology Editor at Semiconductor Engineering.

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