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A Candid Conversation with the GlobalFoundries CEO!

A Candid Conversation with the GlobalFoundries CEO!
by Daniel Nenni on 07-25-2015 at 8:00 pm

 I did not know Dr. Sanjay Jha prior to this meeting but I certainly knew of him from his time at Qualcomm. It seemed a bit odd for me to fly to Dresden to meet a man that is based here in Silicon Valley but that made the meeting all that more interesting. Especially after finding out the German Chancellor Angela Merkel would also be visiting Fab 1, absolutely.

While at Qualcomm Sanjay was known as a technically brilliant man with exemplary business skills to which I agree whole heartedly. After 20 years at Qualcomm, which started in design and ended in the executive ranks, Sanjay joined Motorola as CO-CEO and spun out the mobility division which he later sold to Google for a whopping $12.5B. The next time I heard Sanjay’s name was on the short list for the next Intel CEO which I think would have been an excellent choice. That position of course went to an Intel insider (Brian Krzanich) and much to my surprise and great pleasure Sanjay joined GlobalFoundries. Knowing what I do about him I expected great things but I never would have expected the acquisition of the IBM semiconductor division. Not only did GF acquire it, they got paid $1.5B! Talk about the epic deal of the century!

One thing I should warn you about when talking to Sanjay is to be careful what you ask technically because he can go down to the transistor level, no problem. We had a very interesting discussion about Vts and body bias constraints. It is interesting to note that body bias is not mandatory when designing to FD-SOI but if you choose to it can be used at the chip and block level so a designer can do what-ifs and decide how best to leverage it but I digress… I will have one of our PhD bloggers write about body biasing in more detail because it is a point of contention between CMOS and FD-SOI design it seems.

After the interview I was afforded a trip through the Fab 1 clean room. Certainly not my first time through a clean room but it is always exciting to see the inner works of semiconductor manufacturing. In fact one of my first jobs out of college was in a fab on Mathilda Avenue in Sunnyvale circa 1984. I remember seeing the “No Accidents in X Days” sign for the first time and the X was in single digits which was frightening considering how toxic fabs could be back then. And I have no idea why they call clean room outfits bunny suits because there is nothing cute about them!

Other bloggers covered the technical details of the 22nm FD-SOI announcement:

GlobalFoundries 22nm FD-SOI: What Happens When

GlobalFoundries FD-SOI. Yes, It’s True

GlobalFoundries Endorse ST/LETI FD-SOI 22nm!

And Paul McLellan just added two more interesting FD-SOI blogs here:

FD-SOI: a Gentle Introduction

Thomas Skotnicki: FD-SOI 26 Years in the Making

Sanjay also committed an additional $250M investment for 22nm development and capacity. This brings the total Dresden investment to more than $5B since 2009 ensuring that Fab 1 will continue to be the largest semiconductor manufacturing facility in Europe. Hopefully Chancellor Merkel was impressed and offers matching funds or Government incentives of some sort.


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