Symbolism and analogies were flying fast and furious yesterday at the GSA Memory Conference in San Jose, CA. which addressed 3D Architecture with Logic & Memory Integrated Solutions. I always appreciate when technologists show their senses of humor. It makes an otherwise dry topic lots more interesting to write about.

ASE’s Bill Chen is clearly a gourmet, because his analogies focus on food. I’d already heard him say that 3D silicon interposer technologies allows us to “have our cake and eat it too.”  In his presentation yesterday as part of the 3D Ecosystem Panel, he called the opportunities in 3D for outsourced semiconductor assembly and test service providers (OSATS) “The best thing since sliced bread,” continuing on to make comparisons between OSATS and the deli counter. It’s important to provide a full selection of the finest meats, cheeses, breads and condiments to be the most successful. “When TSVs wafers roll out from foundries the OSATS must be ready with cost effective assembly and test with good yield and cycle time,” he remarked. “People want to buy a sandwich that they will want to eat.”  Fellow panelist Suk Lee, director of the design infrastructure marketing division for TSMC perpetuated the analogy quipping “after all, sandwiches are the original mobile meal!” Ok then, moving on!

So what about the elephants and bunnies? In his presentation about the motivations for 3D ICs, Yuan Xie, associate professor at Penn State University likened dual core processors to elephants, while multicore processors are bunnies. There are more challenges when dealing with bunnies: how do you train them (memory)? How do you feed them? (Bandwidth). He said that 3D memory stacking can provided the necessary fast access and high bandwidth to train and feed those bunnies. (Seriously, I heard it with my own ears.)

But the best of all was when Nicky Lu, chairman and CEO of Etron Technology, manufacturer of known good die memory (KDGM) modules, rolled a video clip of this now renowned flash mob performance of DO RE MI, from Sound of Music, in the Antwerp, Belgium train station, as an example of how “heart touching experiences” are driving mobile computing.  (Of all the YouTube examples he could have selected, he picks this one. Did he really not know I was in the room?)

His message to the attendees, and what he bases Etron’s business model on, is that heart touching drives services, service defines products. “ICS are the cornerstones of heart touching experiences,” he concluded. Business dynamics are changing in this “experience economy”.  In order to experience success in this new economy, you need to change your executive and corporate mindsets and rather than a top-down leadership approach, it’s a bottom up experience-lead delivery. Lu says Etron’s product synergy is aligned with experience driven mindsets. He believes the key to successful 3D IC industrialization is through a business model he calls “clustered virtual vertical integration” (CVVI) that involves co-development by companies integrating knowledge domains, profit and loss sharing, and heart-touching experiences. (Who knew the Sound of Music would influence a semiconductor business model? I’m still floored.)

Hey, it’s April Fool’s Day. Did you really expect me to write a serious post with all this great material to play with?  There’s plenty of time to address the real MEAT of this conference next week (That one was for you, Bill!). ~ F.v.T

Francoise von Trapp

They call me the “Queen of 3D” because I have been following the course of…

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