Whew! That was a busy two hours! Here’s a short blog post about my initial impressions of Virtual SEMICON West 2020, the sessions I attended, and some tips for managing the next few days.

First of all, the chat function in the virtual booth is great! I had some great quick discussions, and the platform makes it easy to record and save follow up action items with the people you interact with. I can see it’s going to be a very busy week.

One tip: If you are going to attend a session, I recommend setting yourself to “do not disturb” so that you can focus on what you’re without being interrupted. I forgot to do that and found myself trying to juggle networking while watching the sessions, The Most Productive Half Century in History, and Collaborating on Innovation: The SEMI and imec Partnership.

Good Ole Boys Talking about the Good Ole Days

I’m not sure what I was expecting… it’s almost like I forgot there was a global pandemic, and everyone is working from home. So, if you too were imagining TED-esque videos, just get that image out of your mind. Also, since we did our own, “Zooming into SEMICON West” series, I should have expected the same. And that’s exactly what this session was like – a conversation between Dan Hutchison, VLSI Research, and various members of SEMI committee members reminiscing about the good old days of the semiconductor industry from the comfort of their home offices. (These guys have some really nice bookshelves.)

Jim Morgan, Steve Newberry, Dave Toole, and Stan Myers all share their memories about how SEMI began, from early days as a US organization to its shift to become an international trade association when Japan’s semiconductor industry began to thrive.

Steve talked about how “a bunch of crazy start-ups” came together to figure out how to deliver value. He talked about the struggle with scale and scope, and how vertically integrated companies needed six months lead time, and how much there was to be learned from Japan’s approach to manufacturing.

Stan talked about how some members wanted SEMI to remain an American organization, and Ken Levy and Bill Reed pushed to take it global. He said developing global standards was the highlight of SEMI’s work and brought the industry together. Jim Morgan pointed out the standards work was funded by the SEMI exhibitions.

Dan and Dave brought us through The Great Consolidation, the impact that had on SEMI trade shows, and how the character of the show has changed because of it.

One thing that stood out to me from this conversation and those who participated, was the very white maleness of the old days of SEMI. I can’t even complain that this panel isn’t diverse or inclusive, because it’s just how it was: These men are some of the key people involved SEMI from the start, remembering some of the great moments of our industry. You can check out the archived video of this presentation here yourself after 5 pm today.

Collaborating on Innovation: The SEMI and imec Partnership

The second live session I attended was a discussion with SEMI’s Ajit Manocha and imec’s Luc Van Den Hove, moderated by SEMI’s Bettina Weiss, who moderated the discussion. But according to Ajit, Bettina did a lot more than that. He credited her with (and thanked her for) putting this partnership together. So I want to personally congratulate Bettina on this successful partnership!

While SEMI and imec have enjoyed an informal partnership for years, Ajit said they have now formalized the relationship and put into the SEMI governance that imec and SEMI will always be in sync. He called imec the “powerhouse of European research.”  (I am wondering what CEA Leti, Fraunhofer, and others think about this statement…)

For his part, Luc described SEMI as “the networking organization of the industry” that is successfully grown partnerships, while the essence of imec is forming ecosystems. “Together, we can deliver more value to the industry and link to new value change.”

The two went on to discuss their viewpoints on Moore’s Law, various roadmaps, and the importance of accelerating tech in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Rather than reveal more of the details, I’m going to encourage you to view it on-demand after 5 pm today.

Final Thoughts

I’m looking forward to seeing what Al Gore’s home office looks like tomorrow, as well as some of the other keynote speakers.

If you visited booths today and had some issues, be sure to let technical support know. Today was the soft launch to work out final kinks and bugs. If you visited our booth this morning and didn’t find your video (Namics, Cimetrix, ASE) they are all there now! Check back tomorrow. I’ll be in our booth in the afternoon daily – so stop by for a chat!



Francoise von Trapp

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

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