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TSMC Executive Calls Upon Semiconductor Industry to "Standardize"
Around 0.10-micron Process
Process Alignment Could Result in Faster
Time-to-Market for New Applications
London (ots) - Dr. Genda Hu, vice president of corporate marketing for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) today called upon the semiconductor industry to standardize on a single, open 0.10-micron semiconductor manufacturing process.
Pointing to industry reports that the semiconductor industry likely will rally around only a few processes at this node, Dr. Hu indicated that TSMC is currently working with the industry's leading companies on this direction. Some agreements have already been reached, and TSMC will report on these and other developments in the near future.
"System-on-chip design methodologies are the future of semiconductor manufacturing," said Dr. Hu, speaking at a news conference during TSMC's European Technology Symposium here. "A single, open technology standard could be a key element to efficient and rapid creation of single-chip systems. As the IC industry in general moves toward the 0.10-micron node, TSMC believes this is the ideal point for development of such a standard."
Dr. Hu suggests the alignment could result in nearly identical manufacturing steps carrying the minimum requirement of a common set of design rules, common electrical parameters, and identical transistor characteristics. This alignment is already receiving the support of a number of major integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) globally, and is predicated on TSMC's track record of delivering quality processes on time and with a range of supporting technologies.
Dr. Hu said the primary drivers to a standard SoC platform are Moore's Law, which suggests IC density will double every 18 months; the widening gap between design productivity and transistor density; and the accelerated product lifecycles that are the hallmark of today's technology industry. Combined, these forces compel both fabless and IDMs to "shortcut" product development cycles by using standardized intellectual property, libraries, and now, process technology.
The move to a standardized process technology has a number of additional benefits for the industry. By standardizing, developers of intellectual property can focus their attention on rapid delivery of an increasing variety of drop-in, reusable IP products. Similarly, designers of libraries - the primary building blocks of today's ICs - can target this single process, eliminating the expense of supporting multiple processes globally, often with moderate return on their investments.
"Over the course of the last decade or so, the semiconductor industry generally has shifted toward a foundry-centric business model," said Dr. Hu. "Today, IP and library developers, EDA companies and others tend to verify their products on TSMC silicon before going anywhere else. Similarly, the majority of fabless companies and IDM companies worldwide have both prototyping and volume manufacturing relationships with TSMC. Our focus to this point has been on developing the manufacturing and service organizations necessary to provide the highest-possible quality of experience with TSMC. With that infrastructure largely in place, we now believe we can provide the industry with the SOC platform for the future."
While semiconductor technology has traditionally been a major differentiator in the high-tech industry, the resources necessary to quickly and repeatedly develop leading-edge processes and state-of-the-art production facilities has become prohibitive. For this reason, only a few semiconductor manufacturers are now expected to develop competitive 0.10-micron technologies. IDMs and fabless companies may still differentiate at the technology level through collaboration within the 0.10-micron platform, but the vast majority of differentiation will take place at the SoC level, where innovative designers can concentrate on system-level applications and features that differentiate them in their respective markets.
TSMC is the world's largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, providing the industry's leading process technology and the foundry industry's largest portfolio of process-proven library, IP, design tools and reference flows. The company operates two advanced 300mm wafer fabs, six eight-inch fabs and two six-inch wafer fabs. TSMC also has substantial capacity commitments at two joint ventures fabs (Vanguard and SSMC) and at its wholly owned subsidiary, WaferTech. In early 2001, TSMC became the first IC manufacturer to announce a 0.10-micron technology alignment program with its customers. TSMC's corporate headquarters are in Hsin-Chu, Taiwan. For more information about TSMC see http://www.tsmc.com.
ots Originaltext: TSMC North America
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