MEPTEC Roadmap 2016: Best Time in History to be in the Packaging Business

MEPTEC Roadmap 2016: Best Time in History to be in the Packaging Business

guide_michelin_1929_couverture_2With nary a farewell glance in the rearview mirror at the terrain successfully covered over the decades during which we followed the ITRS’ Guide Michelin; the new Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap gives us eyes on what comes next. It looks from here-and-now all the way to a horizon that extends, like a straight highway crossing America’s vast Great Plains, a long way out.

Fifteen years out. A long way indeed.

Goodbye, International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors.

Hello HIR.

You may have read, as I did, that “The Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap (HIR), initiated by the IEEE CPMT Society, and joined with IEEE EDS and Photonics Societies and SEMI, will follow directly the purpose, process, and format of the ITRS Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap … while expanding the vision to address the major changes in the marketplace, and the disruptive changes in technology and the industry.”

And if you had been present at the recent MEPTEC 2016 Semiconductor Packaging Roadmap Symposium in San Jose, CA, November 14, 2016, as I was, you would have heard Bill Bottoms, Chairman, Third Millennium Test Solutions and Co-chair, Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap, say words to make glad all hearts hearing them:  “This is the best time in history to be in the packaging business.”

Heartening words indeed from Dr. Bottoms, particularly because they were in the context of a talk where he reminded us that we have lost CMOS scaling and are, therefore, in “The Chaos Period.” (Tell me about it!)

Per Bill, chaos breeds uncertainty, but it also breeds innovation. (“Chaos,” from the Greek, means “yawning” or “gap”. What forms the bounds of this lacuna was reportedly unclear to the Greeks, but it is not to us:  ITRS – Chaos Period – Heterointegration.)

zenIn the Chaos Period, devices must “do nothing well” as the basic requirement for an Internet of Things (IoT) component deployed in the fog, at the edge, existing on its own power; it is a cryptic description that brings to mind Zen Koans; maybe “When you can do nothing, what can you do?”

It is likely that our present network architectures, when they are loaded with IoT extensions, will experience latency increases, power increases, and cost increases even as consumers clamor for continued decreases in each (cost, power, latency), decreases we have all come to expect in the era of Moore.

This is the best time in history to be in the packaging business.

Regarding latency, what if we had an interconnect technology that is distance agnostic? So asked Professor Lionel Kimerling, MIT, in his talk on “Grand Challenges and Timelines for Electronic – Photonic Integration,” which segued smoothly from Bill Bottoms’ comment that “Photonics to the chip – now that people are building it I’m going to have to change my mind.”

Embedded SiGe-based photodetectors and modulators, photons rather than electrons, the integration of optical interconnection with integrated microelectronic circuit chips, bringing photons closer to the chip.

This is the best time in history to be in the packaging business.

The jury is still out on whether to call them Chiplets, or Dielets, but I’m not going to let that stop me from thinking, as Subu Iyer (UCLA), Dan Green (DARPA), and David McCann (GLOBALFOUNDRIES) also do, that heterogeneously integrating very small devices using some kind of silicon-based (or glass-based) interconnect fabric is a pretty terrific idea from a cost perspective, and also from a performance one.

Small die = better die yield = lower cost die; heterointegration = performance advantages when you combine just enough silicon transistors from one chiplet with just enough compound semiconductor transistors from one dielet.

“Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”rains-casa

Many thanks to MEPTEC for organizing the Roadmap Symposium, to Association Sponsors CPMT, EDS, ESDA, and SEMI, and to the wonderful speakers who, with passion and also with a good bit of humor, made the day the success it was.

Whether it is a matter of our technology moving on, or disruptions in the personal sphere, change in all its forms, we must embrace the dislocations, create and follow a new map, and not never look back, but be mindful of mostly looking forward.

According to Professor Andrew Kahng, UCSD, in a voice holding great conviction, “Heterogeneous integration is where the future lies.”

This is the best time in history to be in the packaging business.cal

Ordo ab chao.  Out of Chaos comes order.

From Santa Clara, CA, Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for reading. ~PFW