South Korean chipmakers Samsung and SK Hynix are expected to showcase their latest technologies at ISSCC 2023 being held in San Francisco in February of next year.
ISSCC, or the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, is called the semiconductor design Olympics by South Korean the chip industry and where the latest papers related to semiconductors across the world are presented.
ISSCC, along with the VLSI Symposium and the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting, is known as the top three academic gatherings of the global chip industry.
KAIST professor Jaehyouk Choi, who is a committee member of ISSCC, told TheElec that the ISSCC considers the practicality and commercial viability of the technologies presented. Over half of the participants are members of chip companies, he added.
At a preliminary press conference last week held in South Korea ahead of ISSCC, conference associates introduced the technologies that will be showcased at the main event.
A total of 629 papers have been submitted to ISSCC 2023 with 198 papers being selected for presentation. Papers on technologies ranging from analog, digital converter, digital architecture and system, digital circuit, IMDD, RF, wireless, wired, memory, and others were submitted.
Out of the 198 papers, 32 papers were from South Korea; 59 papers from China were accepted, and 42 were from the US. China’s number surpassed those of South Korea for the first time.
A person familiar with the matter at the conference told TheElec that many Chinese scholars who studied in the US had returned to their home country and working hard to foster talent.
The quality of the papers submitted by the Chinese was exceptional for ISSCC 2023 and covers diverse subjects from machine learning to processors, they said.
Samsung as a company had the largest amount of paper accepted at 8, though this is half of its 16 papers presented at ISSCC 2022. SK Hynix had 2 papers and the remaining Korean papers come from universities.
A key optic of ISSCC 2023 is power management IC, which accounted for 12% of the accepted papers.
However, South Korea had submitted no papers on power management IC. KAIST professor Min-Kyu Je during his presentation at the preliminary conference said that country was falling behind the global trend in areas such as gallium nitride and power delivery devices. South Korea was noticeably lacking in design and process when it comes to power management IC, Je said.
Universities from Greater China took up the largest portion of power management IC papers. Their presence was also strong in data converter, which is used in the Internet of Things. A total of 15 papers related to DC will be presented at ISSCC 2023 and none are from South Korea while 7 are from China and 4 are from Taiwan.
In the digital architecture and system category, AMD and Mediatek are expected to present their latest 5-nanometer (nm) and 4nm processors.
AMD will show its octa-core Zen4 processor with a clock speed of 5.7GHz and made with 5nm FinFET. Mediatek will present its 4nm FinFET 5G mobile SoC.
In the sector, seven papers are from South Korea including KAIST’s on a 3D-Nerf processor for the metaverse.
Ewha University professor Ji-Hoon Kim said of the sector that research in IoT systems related to the high-performance processor, mobile application processor, automotive, and energy harvesting was very active. There was also research on 3D stacking and direct boding packaging technologies based on 5nm and 4nm, Kim said.
From South Korea, KAIST professor Yoo Hoi Joon’s paper on complementary-deep neural network, or C-DNN, which uses both CNN and SNN technologies, as well as Seoul National University professor Dongsuk Jeon’s real-time speech strengthening processor, was getting the most notice.
South Korea was the strongest in image sensor and display driver IC areas; out of the 18 papers accepted in the category, 9 are from the country.
Samsung is to present papers on a quad-pixel 50MP CMOS image sensor and display driver IC for 8K TV and gaming monitor.
Meanwhile, papers on memory chips accounted for 11% of the total paper accepted, making it the second largest category after power management IC.
SK Hynix is planning to showcase its over 300-layer V-NAND technology __ so far, memory chipmakers have commercialized over 200-layer NAND.
There were also 9 papers related to SRAM CIM that were accepted, most of them from China and Taiwan for application in AI and machine learning.