Friday, October 24, 2008

ISMI Symposium

This past week Austin has experienced another annual ISMI symposium at Hilton Airport hotel. Many members of semiconductor industry came to the city to share their work and create new networking opportunities. While there were short courses and pre-symposium events on Monday and Sunday, main presentations and panels were held on Wednesday and Thursday.

I had a chance to make an half-an-hour simulation demonstration in a simulation short course on Tuesday. It was just about showing how an AutoSched AP model looks like for people who are unfamiliar with it. AutoSched AP is probably one of the most widely used simulation packages in the semiconductor industry. It all started for automation industry but developed in semiconductor business by Brooks company and now is being supported by AMAT after Brook's acquisition to the company. It has a spreadsheet user interface without any graphical fancy stuff as opposed to other simulation packages such as Automod or Arena, but is the fastest and to run for semiconductor manufacturing. It has flexibility for customization by some knowledge of C++ coding for people who are not happy with its standard properties and extensions. It may not be the ideally fastest simulation package but is accepted as one of the best around for semiconductor manufacturing until a better ones come into competition.

On Thursday, I have been to a panel on the futur of semiconductor manufacturing in G7 countries, which was directed by Don Hutcheson of VLSI, by the participation of expert people of semiconductor industry. To summarise, panelists foresee that it is going to survive in G7 countries one way or another. While Asian countries are serious competitors for G7 countries, due to unique characteristics of semiconductor manufacturing (low labor, high investment requirements, etc.) they do not hold a greater threat in the future. One of the most important ways to hold semiconductor manufacturing profitable in G7 countries is government subsidies. Also, new technologies promise great opportunities ahead for semiconductor industry, such as solar and led.

I forgot to say that the food was good, too. I especially liked the vegetable lasagna served for lunch on Thursday.

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