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Imec Technology Forum

Imec Technology Forum
by Paul McLellan on 04-23-2015 at 7:00 am

I like to quiz people on which country is the one where the most leading edge research on semiconductors is done. People reflexively answer USA or maybe Taiwan or Japan. Nobody who doesn’t already know the answer would pick Belgium. After all the EU headquarters is there not because Belgium is important but because Belgium is too small to matter, whereas putting the headquarters in Paris, Rome, Berlin or London would have everyone else objecting. But imec is based in Leuven (or Louvain if you are Francophone) and it seems to be where the world’s major semiconductor companies do a lot of pre-competitive research. And they don’t just do research into semiconductors themselves, they are also are leaders in various application areas.

 Just reading off the menu on their website brings up:

  • semiconductor scaling
  • GaN power electronics
  • wearable health monitoring
  • life sciences
  • wireless communication
  • image sensors and vision
  • large area flexible electronics
  • solar cells and batteries
  • sensors for industrial applications

One major way that they communicate is though the imec technology forums (fora?) which are held each year around the world. There are events in Korea, Brussels and Taiwan. The US event is held on the first day of SEMICON West so this year it will be July 13th. The biggest event of all is held in Belgium. Too big even for Leuven itself it is actually held over two days in Brussels. This year it is June 23-24th and is titled For the Builders of Tomorrow—Towards Smart Living.

If you work in semiconductors or electronics this should be a must-attend event. Just to give you an idea of its importance, the opening keynote is by Morris Chang (or maybe he is Maurice if you are Francophone). Also speaking are Lip-Bu Tan (CEO of Cadence), Padmasree Warrior (CTO of Cisco), Simon Segars (CEO of ARM), Pater Wennink (CEO of ASML, the home of EUV) and many more. The schedule is not 100% finalized but the provisional one is:

 Day 1—June 23 (8am to 7pm)

  • Luc Van den hove—president & CEO, imec
  • Morris Chang—founding chairman, TSMC
  • Lip-Bu-Tan—president, & CEO, Cadence Design Systems
  • Padmasree Warrior—chief technology & strategy officer, Cisco
  • Peter Wennink—president & CEO, ASML
  • Simon Segars—CEO, ARM
  • Jean-Marc Chery—COO, STMicroelectronics
  • Robin Murdoch—global managing director, internet & social, Accenture
  • Martin Anstice—president & CEO, Lam Research
  • Caroline Hillegeer—senior vice president of strategy and technology, GDF SUEZ
  • An Steegen—senior vice president process technology, imec
  • imec life science team

 Day 2—June 24 (8am to 5pm)

  • Babak Parviz—vice president, Amazon.com
  • imec wearable health-care team
  • Tim Harris—director of applied physics, Janelia Farm
  • William Yang—founder & CEO, BaySpec
  • Steven Nietvelt—chief innovation officer, Cartamundi
  • Cees Links—founder & CEO, Greenpeak
  • Stephen Turner—Founder & CTO, Pacific Biosciences
  • Meg Doherty—coordinator of treatment and care in the dept. of HIV/AIDS, WHO
  • Joost Wille—R&D director, Sioen Industries
  • Rudi Pauwels—CEO, Biocartis
  • Eric Van Zele—President & CEO, Barco
  • Phillip Vandervoort—chief consumer market officer, Proximus
  • Geert Palmers—CEO, 3E
  • Steve Beckers—general manager IC-link, imec
  • Koenraad Debackere—managing director KU Leuven Research
  • Harmke De Groot—senior director of perceptive systems for IoT, imec/Holst Centre


One especially informative presentation, for me, anyway, is An Steegen who is imec’s senior person on process technology. It is like drinking from a fire-hose, as the cliche goes, but in a short-time you will not miss out on anything important going on that may impact the future of process technologies. I don’t just mean 7nm, I mean what comes next.

It is €550 to attend, and with the current weakness of the Euro against the dollar that is under $600. Full disclosure: I will be attending and imec are paying my expenses.

For more information go here. To register go here.

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