FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.--Following months of declining orders and shipments, the semiconductor equipment market turned around in
December, with both billings and bookings bouncing up for the
first time since the spring. But industry officials still offered
a cautious outlook for the months ahead.
The industry trade group SEMI,
in its December Book-to-Bill Report, said semi-gear vendors based
in North America posted $924.1 million in orders worldwide in
December 2012 (on a three-month average basis) and saw a
book-to-bill ratio of 0.92. (A book-to-bill of 0.92 means that $92
worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for
the month). The best book-to-bill month in 2012 was March at 1.12.
The bookings figure is 28.6 percent higher than November's $718.6
million, but is 16.2 percent lower than the December 2011 order
level of $1.10 billion.
The three-month average of worldwide billings in December 2012
was $1.01 billion, SEMI said. The billings figure is 10.6 percent
higher than November's $910.1 million, and is 22.6 percent less
than the December 2011 billings level of $1.30 billion.
Denny McGuirk, president and CEO of SEMI, sounded a note of
caution as the industry moves deeper into 2013.
"Both bookings and billings increased in December, but remain
below figures reported one year ago,” McGuirk said. “While
uncertainty remains regarding the 2013 equipment outlook, the
foundry and advanced packaging segments are the key investment
drivers at the beginning of the year.”
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.