And a Good Time was had by All – 3D InCites Awards Breakfast, 2013

And a Good Time was had by All – 3D InCites Awards Breakfast, 2013

Despite the chilly San Francisco morning temperatures, a sizable crowd of 2.5D and 3D enthusiasts gathered at the Impress Lounge to witness the inaugural 3D InCites Awards Breakfast, held July 11, 2013 during SEMICON West. For me, it was especially significant as it marked four years since I first launched 3D InCites at SEMICON West 2009. I felt truly honored to be surrounded by such industry elite who came out to show their support, and quite frankly, to see who won!

Liam Madden, corporate VP of FPGA Development and Silicon Technology at Xilinx, warmed up the crowd, beginning his remarks with a testimonial to Jan Vardaman. “Jan has always been a clear voice in terms of 2.5D and 3D.  Far too many people over hype 3D and far too many are doubters. Jan has always been consistent in telling the story as it is, and we in development appreciate that,” he said.

He continued on with an entertaining and informative talk on Xilinx’ foray into 3D stacking, explaining how the company became the first to introduce first homogeneous 2.5D stacking, and then heterogeneous 3D stacking into its products. Madden says 2.5D interposer technology was an ideal solution for Xilinx FPGA technologies because it is easy to partition the devices vertically into slices, and then make the connections on top of an interposer.  Since all of the silicon is developed at Xilinx, it’s not necessary to involve a 3rd party, and since FPGA customers like large devices, it offered an attractive opportunity to them. Lastly, he said using 2.5D offered a great value proposition, because with it, you can use next generation technology density in this generation’s technology.  He referred to FPGA’s as “chameleon chips” that can take on a number of personalities because they are programming at the bit level rather than the software level, and so have many possible applications, including use in Curiosity, the latest Mars Rover.

Another highlight of the morning was when Ana Londergan, Sr. Staff Engineer, Qualcomm Technologies, presented a $5,000 check on behalf of the 3D InCites Awards Program to Jan Vardaman, CEO of TechSearch International, representing the donation to the IEEE Frances B. Hugle Engineering Scholarship. Thanks to the generosity of Qualcomm and our silver sponsors, Rudolph Technologies, FormFactor, and Mentor Graphics, we were able to contribute the equivalent of two scholarships. Vardaman talked about Frances B. Hugle, and explained the criteria for scholarship applicants.

“Frances B. Hugle was a pioneer in the 60’s and she didn’t get as much recognitions as the others,” said Vardaman. “She wanted to be known as a woman first, and an engineer second. This award is dedicated in her memory, to encourage other young women to go into engineering and pursue that interest.” A scholarship in the amount of $2500 will be awarded annually to young women who have completed at least two years of a university level engineering program, while maintaining a 3.7 GPA or better.  The IEEE Women in Engineering Committee selects the winners from the pool of applicants.  “We as an industry must raise $100K  to endow the scholarship, and with this contribution are well on our way,” said Vardaman.

The ceremony concluded with the announcement of the five winners.  A panel of nine industry expert judges and an online ‘popular vote’ represented the 10 votes to determine the winners from a field of 25 nominees in five categories.

The 2013 3D InCites Awards winners are:

Category: 3D Products (Design/Process)
Winner: Xilinx Virtex 7 H580T

Category: 3D Design Tools
Winner: Mentor Graphics Calibre

Category: 3D Manufacturing Equipment
Winner: EV Group EVG850TB/DB XT 

Category: 3D Materials
Winner: Dow Corning Temporary Bonding Solution 

Category: 3D Test and Reliability Tools/Equipment
Winner: Mentor Graphics Tessant MemoryBIST

I would like to personally congratulate all the winners, as well as the nominees. We may not be there yet, but all indicators show we are getting closer to 3D IC commercialization, thanks to the efforts of all of you who have worked so hard to provide solutions to the remaining technology and economic hurdles. We hope to see you all participate again next year. ~ F.v.T.