A few weeks ago, I asked many people in the industry for their predictions for 2013. I separately asked for those related to technology in general, to the EDA industry and for business predictions. In this first part I will be presenting their technology predictions. It should not be surprising that many of the same predictions are being made by different people with power, 3D and FinFETs topping the table. Mobile and use of the cloud appear to be the principle drivers.
They appear in the order in which they were received.
Mike Santarini - Publisher of Xilinx’s Xcell Journal
I believe we are going to see a lot more 3D ICs starting to get manufactured, much greater degrees of system integration via SoC or even 3D SoC type devices to serve a number of growing markets, most notably in embedded vision for automobiles, factories, security as well as smarter networks with amazing bandwidth capabilities to support a plethora of new connected devices (tablets, smart phones, health monitors, etc.)
Ed Bard - Sr. Director of Marketing, Digital IP and FPGA, Synopsys
As we enter 2013, we are entering the third dimension - 3D transistor structures. With the transition to FinFET, we will see accelerated development of IP supporting this new technology. The technology adjustments for FinFET are substantial. IP providers will need to have a deep understanding of IP architecture and only those with direct experience with FinFET devices will be able to successfully develop IP that delivers the true benefits of this technology in the areas of performance, leakage, dynamic power, inter-die variability and retention voltage.
Prasad Paranjpe - Galaxy Platform Marketing Manager, Synopsys
Mobile computing will continue to drive technology trends in 2013. The biggest challenge will be to maximize compute performance per unit of energy, MIPs/mWh. The 2 biggest trends in technology will be designs that utilize FinFET and 3D-IC. FinFETs will accelerate adoption of 20nm and smaller node.
Mobile will shape trends not just in portable electronics which depend on battery life but in driving the demand for cloud computing. Content is now primarily stored in the cloud. This is true for multimedia such as movies, videos, photos as well as content on social networks. People communicate via the cloud and they consume content via the cloud. They expect voice recognition on mobile devices which is powered by powerful computers that do the processing in the cloud. The data centers that make up the cloud use so much energy that power efficient computing will be needed to minimize overall power costs. This is independent of battery life in portable devices.
The single biggest technology driver for MIPs/mWh will be FinFET technology. The power/performance benefits of FinFETs will be the principle way to deliver more performance at the same power or the same performance for less power.
The 2nd biggest trend will be the acceleration of 3D-IC technology to achieve higher density within reasonable thermal bounds. Inter-device bandwidth bottlenecks will force adoption of heterogeneous integration methods, such as 2.5 and 3D-IC to meet the increased demands for streaming multimedia content. Memory integration and FPGAs are leading the way in these technologies but we will see more companies look forward to integration of MEMS, FPGA and analog IP either on the same silicon interposer substrate or stacked vertically in a true 3D-IC system.
Designers will still need to squeeze every last drop out of the silicon. Voltages will go down in order to save power. Lower voltages will make it more critical to manage on chip variation, reliability and signal integrity. These factors coupled with new routing rules will make it necessary to evaluate everything at once to produce designs which are correct by construction.
Cary Chin, director of technical marketing, low power solutions, Synopsys
- Cloud computing model becomes the clear direction for the “teens” decade
- Continued move in personal computing toward mobile devices
- Tablet becomes the new PC
- Personal “computing” focuses more on the man-machine interface (voice, touch, correction), with other tasks done in the cloud
- Communication is everything