Chapter Twelve – The Future

Chapter Twelve – The Future
by Wally Rhines on 09-27-2019 at 6:00 am

Content of this book has focused upon predictability of trends in the semiconductor industry based upon past trends, experience and ratios.  What about newly emerging applications of semiconductors?  After all, the entire history of the semiconductor industry is driven by emergence of new applications.

Artificial IntelligenceRead More


Chapter Eleven – International Semiconductor Competition

Chapter Eleven – International Semiconductor Competition
by Wally Rhines on 09-20-2019 at 6:00 am

Semiconductor industry evolution was largely a U.S. phenomenon.  While there were important contributions made by persons all over the world, the basic technology grew from the invention of the transistor at Bell Labs which was licensed broadly in the U.S.  That created a level playing field for all who wanted to become producers.… Read More


Chapter Ten – Design Automation for Systems

Chapter Ten – Design Automation for Systems
by Wally Rhines on 09-13-2019 at 6:00 am

Electronic design automation has evolved to an extent that the complex chips with tens of billions of transistors frequently produce first pass functional prototypes from the manufacturer.  What makes this so incredible is that such a small portion of the possible states of electronic operation are actually tested in the simulation… Read More


Actel TI and TSMC Foundry Woes

Actel TI and TSMC Foundry Woes
by John East on 09-09-2019 at 6:00 am

TSMC was founded in 1987 by Morris Chang.  At about the same time, I was wrestling with the question of whether or not to join Actel.  Morris had been a top executive at Texas Instruments during the period when TI took ownership of the TTL market.  (See my week #8.  Texas Instruments and the TTL Wars)  I have to admit that when I first … Read More


Chapter Nine – Specialization Inhibits System Level Optimization

Chapter Nine – Specialization Inhibits System Level Optimization
by Wally Rhines on 09-06-2019 at 6:00 am

Solving critical customer problems sometimes isn’t enough.  One of my most interesting experiences came during the development and rollout of a product that was designed to optimize integration of hardware and embedded software.  In this case, the product performed exactly as planned but the plan ignored the organizational… Read More


Chapter 6 – Specialization in the Semiconductor Industry

Chapter 6 – Specialization in the Semiconductor Industry
by Wally Rhines on 08-16-2019 at 6:00 am

Recently, the combined market share of the top ten and top twenty semiconductor companies has been increasing, contrary to the trend of the last fifty years.  Given the acceleration in mergers and acquisitions that began in 2015, one might assume that, as the semiconductor industry approaches maturity, companies are consolidating… Read More


Chapter 4 – Gompertz Predicts the Future

Chapter 4 – Gompertz Predicts the Future
by Wally Rhines on 08-02-2019 at 6:00 am

In 1825, Benjamin Gompertz proposed a mathematical model for time series that looks like an “S-curve”.1  Mathematically it is a double exponential (Figure 1) where y=a(exp(b(exp(-ct)))) where t is time and a, b and c are adjustable coefficients that modulate the steepness of the S-Curve.  The Gompertz Curve has been used for a … Read More


Chapter 3 – Moore’s Law is Unconstitutional!

Chapter 3 – Moore’s Law is Unconstitutional!
by Wally Rhines on 07-26-2019 at 6:00 am

(Adapted from a presentation first given under this title in 1989 and subsequently expanded in presentations over a period of nearly thirty years)

In 1965, Gordon Moore, then R&D Manager for Fairchild Semiconductor, published a paper in “Electronics” magazine predicting the trend for semiconductors in the next ten years.… Read More


Chapter 2 – Constants of the Semiconductor Industry

Chapter 2 – Constants of the Semiconductor Industry
by Wally Rhines on 07-19-2019 at 6:00 am

In the mid 1980’s, Tommy George, then President of Motorola’s Semiconductor Sector, pointed out to me that the semiconductor revenue per unit area had been a constant throughout the history of the industry including the period when germanium transistors made up a large share of semiconductor revenue.  I began tracking the numbers… Read More


Chapter 1 – Predicting Trends in the Semiconductor Industry

Chapter 1 – Predicting Trends in the Semiconductor Industry
by Wally Rhines on 07-05-2019 at 6:00 am

Figure 1 is the most basic of all the predictable parameters of the semiconductor industry, even more so than Moore’s Law.  It is the learning curve for the transistor.  Since 1954, the revenue per transistor (and presumably the cost per transistor, if we had the data from the manufacturers) has followed a highly predictable learning… Read More