Mark Liu, co-CEO of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., said the foundry will begin initial production of chips with 5-nanometer features during the first six months of 2019, noting that the company has 6,000 research and development staffers working on 5nm process technology. "It is likely that TSMC will lead its competitors in ramping 5-nanometer technology, as no clear road map has been disclosed by Samsung Electronics yet," said Clark Tseng of SEMI.
The semiconductor industry stands to achieve a year of solid growth in 2017, although global political and economic developments could have unforeseen effects, Tom Starnes and Jim Handy write. "This year will be a year of chip shortages and semiconductor revenue growth, even as the political climate moves toward changes that are likely to suppress that growth over the longer term," they conclude.
While pundits were once predicting that electronics hardware would become a valueless commodity and software would be paramount in new products, nearly the exact opposite is happening, as more companies turn to custom-designed hardware, this analysis notes. "Last year Google, the quintessential software company, announced a whole initiative on hardware," said Anush Mohandass of NetSpeed Systems.
CWI and Google researchers report they were able, after much effort, to break the SHA-1 cybersecurity standard using a collision attack. SHA-1 is widely used for secure credit card transactions and other applications, although security experts have urged the wider adoption of SHA-2 and SHA-3 for several years.
Qualcomm is providing a virtual reality development kit and a head-mounted display reference design to propel the use of its Snapdragon 835 mobile platform in VR. The development kit will be out in the second quarter of this year, followed by VR devices during the latter half of 2017.
The development of autonomous vehicles may depend on emerging industry standards, rather than allowing each company to design their own custom platform for self-driving cars, this analysis notes. "The feedback we hear is that the number of chips, the amount of wire -- an Audi has over 6 miles of wire in it -- is excessive," said Danny Shapiro of Nvidia.
Seth Neiman, chairman of eSilicon, discusses the evolution of artificial intelligence in this interview. "If you can represent the data in two-dimensional arrays, you can discover relationships between the elements of that data that have many, many layers of degrees of freedom and distance between the statistical relationships," he says.
Applied Materials expects to benefit from China's push to develop advanced semiconductors and display panels, CEO Gary Dickerson told reporters. Dickerson expects to double the company's semiconductor equipment sales this year to China compared to 2015 and predicts the country will account for $2.6 billion in revenue.
Unigroup Spreadtrum RDA, the mobile chip subsidiary of Tsinghua Unigroup, is preparing for an initial public offering next year, sources say. "Tsinghua Unigroup would need so much more money to develop next-generation mobile chips and it would be a relief for the company to raise funds from investors rather than paying out from its own pockets," Gartner analyst Roger Sheng said.
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