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    Semiconductor week mar 27 2020

    SemiWEEK: SPIE Highlights, Coronavirus forecast scenarios; Semi Equip Outlook; Stocks recover some lost ground

      Andrea Lati

    Visibility in 2H20 is blocked and recent fires drive caution. Order activity for semiconductor equipment extended its decline, but at a slower rate from the previous week. Even though the chip making industry has been somewhat insulated from COVID-19 fallout, the overall sentiment is deteriorating in the face of a sharp contraction in economic activity. Second quarter GDP is now expected fall double digits with services and consumer expected to take the biggest hit. The positive is the memories of the Great Recession are still fresh and the central banks and governments around the world are pulling their bazookas to backstop the economy. The data from China is also becoming more positive, so there is light at the end of the tunnel even though timing remains uncertain. The Chip Price Performance Index (CPPI) slipped by another point. Worldwide Electronics Shipments - Electronics sales are being hit hard due to Coronavirus outbreak. Semiconductor sales rose less aggressively in the 3rd week of March, as the IC weather cooled to 59˚ F. Strong demand continued to drive electronics pricing up as well due to the Work-from-Home (WfH) economic restructuring. Semiconductor Sales Nowcast: 1Q20/1Q19 Held at +5%. Semiconductor Weather1 Report: 59˚ F Cools to Cold. IC Supply-Demand2 Metrics: Held at Saturated. Electronics Pricing Trend: Turning up. Driven by Work-from-Home economic restructuring. SPIE Highlights, AI and in-Memory Computing, Lateral Etch, Coronavirus forecast scenarios. SPIE 2020 Highlights: This year’s conference would have had an eerie feeling even if fears of the Coronavirus had not made it so, because after a decades-long task as monumental as the seven-wonders of the world … EUV is done. If the plenary session quietly communicated that EUV is done, a large part of the rest of the conference was about the many things that need to be done to optimize EUV. Evangelos Eleftheriou’s Plenary made an undeniable case for why in-Memory Computing (iMC) is inexorably linked to the advancement of AI. He’s out of IBM Zürich, where they really know the topic. He addressed the elephant in the room that many in the AI intelligentsia don’t want the world to know: That making these leaps to larger NNs has come at the cost of an unsustainable rise to compute-power. Evangelos showed how with iMC, using Phase-Change Memory as an analog storage cell, one can make a spiking neural network that can do matrix-vector multiplication without moving data. IBM has made the chip and they were able to do 8-bit precision multiply operations with an efficiency of ~6fJ! In-memory computing solves the power problem, making it possible to bring AI to the edge like the CPU brought the computer to your desktop, lap, and then in your hand. This will be a huge market driver. The only question is … what to call it? Is it an iMP or in-Memory Processor? Applied Materials’ Lateral Etch: It’s rare to see a truly new revolutionary technology at a conference. SPIE had two. The second I saw was lateral etch in a presentation given by Regina Freed and quaintly titled “Materials engineering solutions to extend DRAM scaling.” What blew me away most was Applied’s development of what they’re calling “precision lateral etch.” Applied has been able to open up vias, thereby reducing EPE induced yield loss while lowering cost compared to a conventional multi-patterned cut mask approach, and carving out a larger via. Importantly it points to a new trend in strategic marketing. We show you why. Important ChipChirps™ Coronavirus Semiconductor Sales Watch and Equipment Market Impact. Semiconductor Equipment Outlook. VLSI's Semiconductor Stock Indices recovered some of the lost ground this week along with the market. VLSI’s Semiconductor Stock Index was led up 12.6% by Western Digital and Infineon. VLSI’s Semiconductor Equipment Stock Index was led up 20.6% by Onto Innovation, Tokyo Electron, Lam Research, and Advantest. VLSI’s EDA Stock Index was led up 13.1% by both Cadence and Synopsys. VLSI’s Electronics Materials Stock Index was led up 14.4% by DNP. Hottest Stocks: Western Digital, Onto Innovation, TEL, LAM, Advantest, and Infineon.

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    Domain: Electronics
    Category: Semiconductors