During the next five years, a great many semiconductor companies will be faced with an increasing number of underperforming business units. Chances are they’ll be selling or spinning them off. Some chip companies, large and small, will disappear altogether. Why? [More]
Archive for November, 2010
When planning new IC design projects, such as SoCs or complex analog or RF chips, R&D organizations that have a firm grasp on the complexity of implementing the design wield a powerful competitive advantage. Complexity is a measure of engineering difficulty and provides the foundation for reliably estimating engineering resource requirements and development cycle time for projects, which is the essence of good project planning. Can anyone disagree that consistently reliable project plans, which means projects finish on-time and within budget, translate to higher revenue and profits? But how does one get an accurate, quantitative calculation of design complexity? [More]
By Ron Collett
“We must increase our IC development productivity!” is the persistent invocation from semiconductor industry executives, and it’s getting louder by the day. It’s not surprising. Yet when I ask the question, “What do you mean by productivity?,” executives and R&D managers often give vague answers. Few seem to have a firm grasp of the definition, other than saying “we need to finish projects on schedule, reduce development cycle times and use fewer engineers.” As a characterization of the benefits of boosting productivity, it’s not a bad start.
It reminds me of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s comment in a landmark First Amendment case in which he described the challenge of defining pornography: “Pornography is hard to define, but I know it when I see it.” Maybe semiconductor executives are saying the same thing: “Increased productivity is hard to define, but I know it when I see it.” Justice Stewart subsequently recanted, concluding that pornography can be indeed defined. So too can productivity. [More]