Yet another recognition for Pradeep’s Point! :)

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Friends, I just learnt that Pradeep’s Point has been selected as the Top Blog for Design and Verification by Bucharest, Romania-based firm AMIQ Consulting. Once again, I am extremely grateful to all of you for helping me achieve this awesome distinction!

cropped-1441920190142.jpgThis recognition is now my 20th overall, and 16th, including one national recognition, for all of my blogs. That 19 such recognitions are from the overseas, is probably evident of the fact that electronics and semiconductors are well read, followed and even written overseas.

Am I wrong? I sincerely hope not, as there is a lot of work being done in electronics and semiconductors within India. The one thing missing from all of this is the presence of leading Indian firms — origin or based — in electronics and semiconductors. I hope that changes in future. And, till that happens, all of those studies depicting India as an electronics hub, are wasted.

As for the blog awards, I’ve mentioned that it’s my 16th recognition, including one national recognition, for all of my blogs. I have now completed a decade of writing (or blogging), and that’s a great result, won’t you all agree? 🙂 I didn’t even know that the blogs will help me achieve so much international (and national) recognition back in 2007, when I returned to India, from Hong Kong.

I started these blogs, back in 2007, to assist my friends, Kevin Ho Fai Lau, Zoe Lam, Alfred Cheng, Yashan Jo Kuo, John Ng, Claudius Chan, Kittie Wong, Len Sangalang, and some others.

Later, Usha Prasad (who was with me till 2012), S. Uma Mahesh, S. Janakiraman, Anand Anandkumar, Jaswinder Ahuja, Montu Makadia, Veeresh Shetty, Raghu Panicker, Dr Pradip Dutta, Vivek Sharma, Vivek Saxena, Sanjeev Keskar, Sathya Prasad, Dr. Satya Gupta, Rahul Arya, Malcolm Penn, Dr Walden Rhines, Dr Aart de Geus, Shinto Joseph, as well as late Ms Tarana Uthayya, Sanjana Shetty, Varsha Poonacha, Padmini Hegde, my niece, Aanchal Ghatak, my son, Prateek Chakraborty, and several others joined the fray.

A decade of winning awards and titles has been a tremendous journey. Thank you to all of you who have made this possible! 🙂 Thanks are due to my wife, Shima Chakraborty, for putting up with me! 🙂

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Canon celebrates 20th anniversary in India!

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Canon, the world imaging leader, marked its 20th anniversary in India with a plan across its enterprise, commercial, consumer and social initiatives.

Celebrating two glorious decades in the country, Canon re-affirmed its commitment to India with the announcement of its ‘Vision 2020’, by Ms. Noriko Gunji, president and CEO, Canon Singapore and Kazutada Kobayashi, president and CEO, Canon India.

canon

Canon India’s Vision 2020 charts its next phase of growth in India. The company in the next three years, aims to penetrate further in the country with its offerings, augment the photography culture in India and introduce technological advancements across business and consumer products.

Vision 2020 also sets a growth target of Rs. 3,500 crore for Canon India, to be achieved by consistently attaining a year on year double digit growth. The company kick-starts its year-long celebrations to commemorate the 20 years with its business partners, vendors, consumers and employees. For 2016, Canon registered a growth of 9 percent, with the revenue aggregating to Rs 2,348.6 crore.

Ms. Noriko Gunji, president and CEO, Canon Singapore, said that India had established itself as one of Canon’s key markets. “We have brand loyalty in India. India will be a major contributor in our future.”

Kazutada Kobayashi, president and CEO, Canon India, added that twenty years’ progress cannot be made without partnerships. “Our CSR will be continuous as well. We are focusing on eye care, education, environment and empowerment.”

SAP consumerizing enterprise biz apps

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The recently-held SAP Spotlight Tour in Surajkund, India, emphasized heavily on the consumerization of enterprise business applications.

As we all know, all enterprises have applications that they have to manage. They also have data residing on the cloud as well as in the premises. Now, the SAP digital boardroom has been changing data into insights, said N. Sekhar, VP Engineering, SAP Labs India. There was a demonstration of SAP’s innovations regarding how customers can shop.

img_20161202_031320Sonam Wangchuk, founder, Students Educational & Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL), spoke about how students in the far flung area of Ladakh are enjoying playing with the sun, earth, fire and ice.

Three years ago, SECMOL came up with the idea of the ice stupa artificial glaciers. A pilot ice stupa stores approximately 1.5 million liters of water, and is used to water about 5,000 trees.

Now, SECMOL is said to be using siphon technology at the Lhonak lake, that resultantly, also helps water overflow to some other lakes. The ice stupa technology has since gone to Switzerland, near St. Moritz.

Deb Deep Sengupta, president and MD, SAP India Subcontinent, said the organization had img_20161202_031418now completed 20 years in India. “We are digitally enabling businesses to embrace a cloud mindset,” he added. “Technology is now driving innovation, efficiency and growth.”

On day 2, there was a session titled ‘Impacting one billion lives’. Dr. Ramesh Nimmagadda, managing trustee, Ramesh Nimmagadda Cancer Foundation (RNCF) said there have been disruptions in healthcare. There is a constant growing need to collect data, and then see what best can be done using that data.

According to him, the connected healthcare was growing in importance. RNCF has developed a data collection software. The next step would involve predictive analysis. “We must go digital. There is also a need to develop simple and cheap systems.”

img_20161203_155950Rajandeep Singh, co-founder, Kivi Technologies added that writing electronic medical records (EMR) would become much easier over the next two to three years. There is also a need to develop techniques to get different data to ‘talk’ to each other. Cloud is definitely the way forward.

Donald Trump wins US president election!

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Right! Donald J Trump has just been acknowledged as the new president of the USA! First, a very hearty congratulations, sir!

donaldIn your speech, you spoke about bringing in new people on jobs. Well, please focus on technology as well. Perhaps, you can try to bring in whiz kids across the various industries, such as electronics, semiconductors, and so on! Please also ensure that the people that you bring in, also do their jobs well.

Why am I saying this? Perhaps, I have always felt that there has been / is / was a great need for people who focus on technology in India.

By people, I don’t mean folks with great degrees coming from great colleges! Bring in people who really understand technologies, how they work, where they can be worked, and what kinds of problems can those technologies solve.

Maybe, this is something that you would need to look at. and urgently!

Intel now sampling 14nm Stratix 10 FPGAs to customers

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Intel has begun sampling 14nm Stratix 10 FPGAs to customers. The Stratix 10 is the 14nm FPGA that was built as a result of Intel and Altera’s foundry agreement in 2013. Stratix 10 is the industry’s highest performance, highest capacity FPGA ever built.

stratix-10How is the Intel 14nm FPGA superior to that of Xilinx? According to a spokesman, Stratix 10 FPGAs provides a first to node advantage for Intel, in that Stratix 10 are the first true 14nm FPGAs, delivering the performance and density advantage of a true process shrink.

How are memory and programmable solutions delivering new classes of products for the data center and the IoT ?

IoT is said to be bringing online billions of new smart and connected devices that are generating a tremendous amount of data. This data must be processed, analyzed and acted upon in real time within the cloud and data centers.

FPGAs, like Stratix 10, are built to support this demand by delivering high-performance, multi-function acceleration to the data center. Microsoft and their use of FPGAs to power Azure and to accelerate Bing are great examples of this acceleration today.

Broadcom did announce 5G a couple of years ago. Is Intel’s 5G any different?

According to Intel, FPGAs will be a key enabler in driving 5G deployments. “As we are in the early stages of 5G where standards are being finalized, the flexibility of FPGAs are invaluable to developers of wireless infrastructure, as the FPGA can be re-programmed as standards are adopted and finalized,” he added.

What is Intel doing in memory and programmable solutions that will make it different?

5G represents a significant shift for the industry, and requires an unprecedented integration of wireless connectivity, computing intelligence, and distributed cloud resources. It will fundamentally transform our lives, bringing us a society that is smarter and more connected.

To realize this potential for the IoT and enable richer experiences throughout daily life, wireless networks must transform to become more powerful, agile and intelligent. Intel is transforming the wireless networks and infrastructure to lay the path to 5G. FPGAs like Stratix 10 and memory are key enabling technologies for Intel.

If you look at some of Stratix 10’s capabilities vs. the prior generation, which companies like Microsoft are using to power its data centers, you get a clear picture of how developers of high-end networking gear, communications infrastructure and data centers will benefit from these high-performance, multi-function accelerators.
* 2X higher performance.
* 5X higher capacity.
* 8X higher TFLOPS.
* Integrated of high-bandwidth memory (HBM2).
* Integrated ARM A53 quad core processor.

Mid-term semiconductor industry update and forecast

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What’s the status of the global semiconductor industry in 2016? What are the forecasts for 2017? Malcolm Penn, chairman and CEO, Future Horizons, UK, presented his findings in London, UK, on Sept. 20, 2016.

Industry update
The IC ASPs are said to be the least understood statistic. The underlying ASP trend is 4-8 year cycle (2-4 Moore’s Law nodes). The crash is steep, and recovery has been punctuated by 1-2-year disruptions.

ASP recovery from penn12005 cyclical bust has been derailed by Lehmann, Euro Crisis, China, Brexit, much more. Penn recommended to beware the extrapolations and received ‘wisdom’,
especially on ASPs.

As for the current 2017 market outlook. there is an ongoing weak PC and smartphone market. The economy remains the industry’s biggest ever wildcard. Lack of industry confidence will bite everyone hard. The poor market growth is said to be the main driver for consolidation (M&A). The chip industry definitely needs a strong economy for growth.

Market forecast 2017
As for the semiconductor market forecast for 2017, the wheels fell off three times in March, Q3 and Dec. 2015. First, demand collapsed in March. This was followed by an ASP collapse and Jun-Sep hit Q3 sales value. The disastrous December made 2015 tip negative (-0.2 percent).

The wheels fell off again this time in Q1! Q3 has been holding up (despite Brexit uncertainty). The disastrous Q1 blew recovery hopes. It has been five years in a row that the market’s failed to recover. The overall economic confidence is clearly to blame.

The current 2017 market outlook is pegged at -1 percent, Lack of industry confidence will bite everyone hard. “Business as usual” means another bad year. As said earliet, the chip industry needs a strong economy for growth.

Tech trends
Well, Moore’s Law is still breathing, but Samsung and TSMC definitely made great efforts to catch up with Intel. Neither spends anywhere near enough on process R&D to research all of the possible next node options, thereby, relying on Intel and Imec Yield ramps are proving to be ‘challenging’, and ‘probably’ always will!

More on the Moore’s Law’, there is shrinking, that’s getting tough. E.g. TSMC FinFET transition has been step by step. Again, in 12nm FinFET, the first designs are now in tape out. However, all are still using the 20nm planar back end of line (BEOL) process. In contrast, Intel is now in early production of its full blown 12nm process and still has one generation lead.

There is a need to bring back a real International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) roadmap, with classic gate channel width reduction no longer a realistic measure of IC process scaling. There needs to be separate scaling trends for the front (transistor), and BEOL (interconnect) has further muddied the waters. The industry desperately needs a new way to measure real scaling and properly compare different processes and process modes.

Now, N14/16 and N12/10 were easy, bur N7 gets hard! For N7 CMOS on production schedule for 2019, Intel and Imec have prototypes of most structure and material options. The N7 node will require III-V materials as well.

N5 CMOS node is harder still. It is the first node where quantum tunnelling effects are dominant. The prototype CMOS devices are already made by Intel and Imec. Vertical GAA (gate all around) structure is likely with FinET on SOI.

The less said, the better for the N3 node. Both heterojunction TFET and GNR (graphene nanoribbon) TFET offer complementary devices allowing continued use of CMOS design techniques. Intel definitely selected the heterojunction TFET. Either could be introduced at N5 if CMOS alternatives underperform or for very low power applications.

Beyond CMOS processes, there areSpintronics options. These include SpinFET, all spin logic, domain wall logic, Spintronic majority, nano magnet logic and Spin wave.

Looking at the “beyond CMOS” era of N2.25, N1.8 & N1.3 (maybe smaller), numerous device structures are in early research. Orbitronics may offer a simpler option than Spintronics with the BiSFET (bilayer pseudo-spin field effect transistor). A simple graphene-based device not dependent on the need for a band-gap could even come to market before Spintronics logic devices.

As for 3D Flash process challenge, Samsung’s ‘getting there’ Plus Intel’s the ‘dark horse’.

In FD-SOI, is the third process lucky? The original 28nm process was developed by STMicroelectronics and second-sourced to first GlobalFoundries, and then Samsung. The second generation shrink development has been aborted by STM. The second generation 22nm FDX process was launched by GlobalFoundries Dresden, and is an improved 28nm ‘squeeze’.

The third generation 12nm FDX process was launched (10nm FinFET performance and lower power/cost of 16nm FinFET). However, the first customer tape outs won’t be until H1-2019. Little is currently known how the process works and is made. There is unlikely to be a pure FD-SOI process/transistor as the classic FD-SOI transistor would not scale this far.

Let us also have an update on 450mm fabs. Europe’s now turned off all 450mm ‘life support’. Intel’s still “interested”, but remains low key for now. The 300mm process technology has moved on dramatically. 3D Flash needs might still ‘make 450’s day”.

As for an update on EUV, the 12 latest generation machines are now installed (plus six older ones). And, 24 more are due to be installed next year. New techniques with immersion are being used at 10nm. For 7nm, there will probably be used for Fin Cut stage. Most layers will stay with 193 immersion, wherever possible. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve won IndyWood Media Excellence Award 2016!

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Friends, I have just won the IndyWood Media Excellence Award 2016, on 24th September, 2016, at the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad, India.

award1This is my first award from and in India, and my 19th award, overall! The pleasure of winning my first-ever award in India is really huge and cannot be expressed in words.

My wife, Shima, and son, Prateek, were in attendance, and also captured the event on camera.

I personally have had a feeling that very few people in India read about electronics and semiconductors. Well, this has been taken care of, for now, by the Indian film community.

I am a little bothered as to why no one from the Department of Electronics, or even any of the electronics or the semiconductor associations in India has recognized my efforts. Or, maybe, they do not even have any award for the media. Fair enough! 😉

award2I am very grateful to IndyWood and Ramoji Film City for recognizing my efforts. I dedicate this award to my parents – late Mrs Bina Chakraborty (mother) and late Pramode Ranjan Chakraborty (father).

PS: I’m standing second from left, top row. I’m the tallest! 😉