SEMICON West: Accelerating R&D
By Karen Savala
Earlier this month, SEMI announced the addition of the Silicon Innovation Forum (SIF) to SEMICON West to help accelerate the innovation pipeline for advanced semiconductor technology. This exciting program was developed in collaboration with leading strategic investment groups in our industry, including Applied Ventures, Dow Chemical Company, Intel Capital, Micron Ventures, TEL Venture Capital, and Samsung Ventures. SIF is designed to bridge funding gaps for new and early-stage companies by providing a platform to showcase new ideas to potential partners and investors. Qualifying companies can participate through presentations at the SIF Conference, through table-top displays during a reception, and through one-on-one meetings with qualified investors. The SIF Conference will be free to all SEMICON West attendees, but the Innovation Showcase and Reception for one-on-one presentation and meeting opportunities will be restricted to qualified partnership and investor groups.
The SIF is just one of the many activities and forums devoted to R&D and the innovation pipeline at SEMICON West. The need for breakthrough ideas has never been greater, but R&D budgets, venture capital and private funding sources for advanced semiconductor technology development have significantly declined over the past decade. To help accelerate R&D in the industry — and to encourage innovation from new sources — SEMI is planning a number of new programs to serve the R&D community and the industry’s innovation cycle.
“A Conversation on the Future of Semiconductor Technology” will be an executive panel discussion with leaders from the industry’s top R&D consortia. The conversation will feature Dan Armbrust, president and CEO of SEMATECH, Luc Van den hove, CEO of imec and Laurent Malier, CEO from CEA-Leti, discussing the status of current consortia programs, the top technical challenges facing the coming nodes, and the radical changes unfolding in industry R&D as we speak.
The TechXPOT programs at SEMICON West will also address critical R&D issues facing the industry, including nonplanar transistor processing challenges, lithography, 450mm wafer processing, and 3D stacked ICs. New this year will be programs on silicon photonics, transparent conductors, nano-defect inspection, and productivity innovations for existing lines and fabs. Contributors and organizers to the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors will also discuss the latest ITRS edition.
In the over twenty years I have been in the industry, I have never seen so many critical and concurrent R&D barriers facing the industry. At the same time, the process of R&D and innovation — through universities, consortia, start-ups, industry leaders, and innovative smaller companies — has never been in such a state of flux. No place else on earth will host more international technical innovators, visionary leaders, and bright minds of the next generation than SEMICON West.
—Karen Savala is president of SEMI Americas