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Feature Article

Feature Article

IRDS™ Executive Summary: Industry Highlights

The International Roadmap for Devices and Systems™ recently released its 2020 edition. This includes 10 topical reports from the International Focus Teams, two White Papers (on “More Than Moore” and “Packaging Integration”), and an Executive Summary.

Any or all of these documents can be downloaded from the IRDS™ Portal. One must register as a member of the IEEE IRDS™ Technical Community, but there is no charge for this registration.

The Executive Summary is an extended overview of the entire roadmap, totaling 60 pages. This also includes a shorter introduction, Section 1.1 on Industry Highlights and Key Messages. This is a new Roadmap section that provides a list of 23 Key Messages about the present and future of the worldwide semiconductor industry, illustrated with a similar number of graphs and figures. Among the key messages are the following:

1) Despite all the predictions that Moore’s Law is ending, the number of transistors per die continues to grow exponentially, due in part to expansion into the 3rd dimension. This trend is likely to continue for at least another 10 years.

2) Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) applications have become the key drivers for chip and system advanced development, and these are moving from data centers out to edge devices.

3) The semiconductor industry continues to grow strongly, with increases in both edge devices (smart phones and sensors) and data centers.

4) New logic and memory devices with improved performance for future systems are being developed.

5) Quantum computing remains in the research stage, with product manufacturing at least 10 years away.

Technology Spotlight

Technology Spotlight

“No Transistor Left Behind”
Raja Koduri, VP, Intel

Hot Chips is an annual IEEE Symposium on High-Performance Chips usually held in San Francisco, CA, USA in August. This year, due to COVID-19, it was held as a Virtual Conference. Access the Program at the Hot Chips website.

One of the Keynotes was presented by Raja M. Koduri, Senior Vice President, Chief Architect, and General Manager of Architecture, Graphics, and Software at Intel. The video of his presentation is available, and an overview is available at The Next Platform.

The title was “No Transistor Left Behind,” which presented a review and prospect of the computer industry, focusing on how more efficient usage of transistor resources can bring about major improvement in performance, going far beyond the improvement in the transistors themselves. This will require extensive hardware-software co-design throughout the entire industry.

The talk started with a brief tribute to the late Frances Allen, a pioneering computer scientist who developed some of the first compilers.

Mr. Koduri went on to review past development of computer hardware and software, and implications for the future. Each period was characterized by a dominant set of computer applications. Earlier there was the PC era, followed more recently with the Mobile and Cloud era. We are now entering the Intelligence era, characterized by massive growth of data, which can only be handled by AI systems. The demand for processing is rising exponentially, going up by a factor of 1000 by 2025. This will require both general-purpose and specialized processors, enabling exascale performance that goes beyond supercomputers in data centers. This will require a new contract between hardware and software developers.