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[Editorial] The Future of Foundry Collaboration

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The pandemic-related economic contraction of 2020 was partially offset by the growth of remote digital solutions for online work and education, and a drastic uptick in online shopping. Along with significant emergency expenditures by governments, these online systems allowed many countries to resume fundamental social, educational, medical and economic activities, despite the pandemic. As a result, the PC market, stagnant for the past 10 years, grew by double digits in 2020. Right now, the adoption rate of 5G smartphones is growing at a higher pace than 4G, and nearly half of the newly sold devices are expected to be 5G capable. To keep up with the growing demand for faster technology platforms, technology companies need the ability to develop bespoke semiconductor chip solutions. For foundry providers, generic process technology and common wafer manufacturing services are no longer adequate to address customers’ complex chip design requirements. While offering the best end-to-end solutions for optimum power, performance, area scaling, cost and time-to-market (PPACT) is necessary, foundry providers need to offer heterogeneous integration solutions as a way to leverage the best process technology for each functional core of a complex chip design. To meet these new market demands, Samsung Foundry has been focusing on these three services: Virtual R&D, Customization and Platform Solutions. Virtual R&D recognizes that semiconductor process innovation is not limited to what foundries conceive as possible. Rather, the ideal innovation takes places as a collaborative development model between the foundry and its customers. Through our virtual R&D process, we are able to work with our customers to co-define and co-develop substantial technological designs starting in the early stages. With shared insights of how process and product interact, customers will be able to design a chip with the expectation of a faster time to market. With Customization, customers can collaborate with us in the later cycle of process development by integrating an optimum set of process and design knobs, while taking the advantage of leveraging mature components. Not limited to foundation IPs, design methodologies, packaging, and heterogeneous integration, a diverse set of functions and PPA design points will be offered as well. In addition to competitive process technology and IPs, Samsung has identified key technology solutions that are essential Platform Solutions for customers’ next-generation High Performance Computing, AI, Mobile, IoT, and Automotive applications.
Specific Platform SolutionsKey Attributes
Performance Platform• Large die design methodology
• 2.5D/3D integration solutions
• High-performance IPs (DRAM PHY, Serdes)
Connectivity Platform• Low-power design methodology & IP
• Security and connectivity IP
• Embedded MRAM
Automotive Platform• ISO26262, AEC-Q100-certified solutions
These three services will expand our vision for customer-foundry relationship. Supporting the services are some key technology innovations from Samsung Foundry to provide our customers with a competitive edge in this exciting new era. These include: • New transistor structures including Multi-Bridge Channel Field Effect Transistor (MBCFET™), for high performance, low-power computing, AI, and 5G platforms • EUV lithography in mass production • 8nm RF for compact and power efficient mmWave 5G mobile devices • Advanced 2.5/3D packaging techniques Considering the diverse needs of customers, combined with global scale challenges, the foundry industry must evolve to offer customers greater flexibility in the choice of tech definition, process and design. At Samsung, we have developed these capabilities and are prepared, and excited, to undertake any challenge of customers’ next-generation chip design. * Editor’s note: This article is a summary of Dr. Choi’s plenary presentation "Pandemic Challenges, Technology Answers", at the 2021 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits (VLSI 2021) on June 16. Link By Siyoung Choi President and Head of Foundry Business, Samsung Electronics