Jeff Welser, vice president at IBM Research, says artificial intelligence technology has made a great deal of progress in 2018 and must address several issues to become more trustworthy during 2019. Eliminating bias in coding and bringing more transparency to AI's decision making are leading goals for the new year, along with reducing the technology's vulnerability to "adversarial examples," where a hacker could alter an image to make a deep learning model place it in a specific category advantageous to the hacker.
Fujifilm plans to spend about $88 million over three years on improvements for its semiconductor materials facilities in Arizona and Rhode Island. The company will bolster its semiconductor supply chain to address applications in 5G cellular communications, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.
Ron Black, the CEO of Rambus until earlier this year, was tapped to become CEO of Imagination Technologies, succeeding Leo Li, who will leave the company at the end of this month to establish a system-on-a-chip startup. Black was dismissed at Rambus for conduct "falling short of the company's standards," it was said, while Rambus emphasized that such conduct was not related to the company's business.
Jentech Precision Industrial is providing its disruptive cold-water-cooled insulated-gate bipolar transistor modules to the supply chain of a European automotive manufacturer, President YC Chao says, with plans in 2019 to have more first-tier automakers in Europe, Japan and the US validate the IGBT modules for use in electric vehicles. He added that Jentech is building a new facility in Taiwan, with volume production scheduled during the first quarter of 2020.
Advanced Micro Devices says its Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition software will boost the performance of top game titles by 15% compared with a year earlier. The new software enables streaming of PC games and video to mobile devices, according to AMD.
The past practice of leaving unused transistors within chip designs is no longer practical, as ICs must be more specific in their capabilities and thus come at a higher cost. "One of the great challenges of engineering... is to build a product with the right feature set to appeal to enough markets so that it is a successful product without compromising itself," Jeff Miller of Mentor says.
Intel plans to stack logic chips in a single IC package with the new Foveros 3D packaging technology in order to accelerate data processing at the chip level. The company also demonstrated chips made with its 10-nanometer process and touted its next-generation architecture plans, with Intel's Raja Koduri saying, "We will see more changes in architecture in the next 10 years than we saw in the last 50."
Lite-On Semiconductor and other Taiwanese suppliers of power diodes are concerned about sales during the first quarter of the new year, citing the usual seasonal factors and uncertain global trade conditions, industry sources say. Diode demand has shifted from consumer electronics to automotive electronics, industrial systems and other high-voltage applications, the sources note.
United Microelectronics will spend $887.6 million during 2019 to expand its production capacity in 8-inch and 12-inch wafer fabrication. Chief Financial Officer Liu Chi-tung said the foundry will add automation to its wafer fabs in Singapore, Taiwan and Xiamen, China.
The new Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre in Manchester, UK, will help in the transition from academic innovation to real-world adoption. Ian Kinloch of the University of Manchester's School of Materials says, "I think the applications are already out there and it will only leak out gradually over time that those products are using graphene, so I think the tipping point is already here."
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