This week is the 10[SUP]th[/SUP] annual ARM Technical Conference in Silicon Valley. In regards to size, content, and relevance, I believe ARM TechCon is the #1 event for the fabless semiconductor ecosystem for sure. I attended keynotes, sessions, and walked the hallways on Wednesday and Thursday. I wish I could write about everything I learned but I do have NDA issues with my day job and some of the information needs to be verified by other sources before I can post it.
There were Cadence and Synopsys logos all over the place. I saw Aldec, Apache, Ansys, Calypto, Carbon Design, Dorado, Doulos, and Mentor. And not just Mentor, but my favorite EDA CEO Wally Rhines was walking the conference floor as well. You will not find a more “in touch” EDA CEO than Wally. He doesn’t seem to age either so Mentor probably has some cryogenic projects going on up in Wilsonville.
The foundries were well represented by TSMC, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, STMicro, and Samsung. Wait, where was Intel Custom Foundry? Atmel had a very nice IoT exhibit as did Freescale. Xilinx had a great presence as I mentioned HERE. The IP companies were there in force: Arteris, CEVA, Kilopass, Memoir, Rambus, Silicon Image, Sonics, True Circuits, and a few others. All of the EDA and IP companies were announcing support for TSMC 10nm during the conference. Bottom line is that the fabless semiconductor ecosystem gets stronger every year and will continue to do so.
Also Read: TSMC Delivers First FinFET ARM Based SoC!
The big news for me is the ARM/TSMC 10nm roadmap because let’s face it, the majority of the fabless wafers being shipped today include ARM IP. TSMC transformed the semiconductor industry with the pure-play foundry business model and ARM transformed the microprocessor industry with the IP business model so it makes complete sense for these two industry superheroes to team up on 10nm. Notice that the TSMC event was on Monday and Tuesday of this week and ARM TechCon was Wednesday-Friday.
“TSMC has continuously been the lead foundry to introduce advanced process technology for ARM-based SoCs,” said Dr. Cliff Hou, TSMC vice president of R&D. “Together with ARM, we proved out in silicon the high performance and low power of the big.LITTLE architecture as implemented in 16FinFET. Given the successful adoption of our previous collaborative efforts, it makes sense that we continue this fruitful partnership with ARM in future 64-bit cores and 10FinFET.”
I talked to Cliff after the TSMC event on Tuesday about the aggressive 10nm schedule (risk production in Q4 2015). Remember, 20nm risk production was in Q4 2013 and 16nm risk production is happening now (Q4 2014). Never before have we seen such a rapid pace of process development. Intel of course shares credit as their “aggressive” marketing tactics motivated the mighty fabless semiconductor ecosystem like never before, ABSOLUTELY!
ARM TechCon 2014delivers an at-the-forefront comprehensive forum created to ignite the development and optimization of future ARM-based embedded products. By offering three full days of technical tracks, demonstrations, and industry insight from broad and deep levels of industry-leading companies and innovative start-ups, ARM TechCon remains more than a tradeshow; it is a comprehensive learning environment for the entire embedded community, uniting the software and hardware communities.