Microelectronic research at EU universities and research institutes rank amongst the top worldwide and Europe plays an essential role in the global microelectronics supply chain, with EU companies supplying all major OEMs, says Bruce Rae of ST Microelectronics in Edinburgh, regional vice-chair of the ISSCC committee.
Before 2010 European papers at ISSCC represented a significant portion of total papers of over 30%. However submissions of EU papers have been declining the last 10 years with the acceptance rate dropping to its lowest level so far this year and the EU losing its position at the world’s foremost IC showcase, he said.
ISSCC 2022 saw 29 papers accepted from European companies and institutions, falling further from 2021, largely reflecting the region’s focus on analog and wireless technology rather than leading edge digital designs.
ST is aiming to perhaps boost the position of Europe, hinting at developing the next generation of artificial intelligence systems using phase change memory for in-memory computing. Meanwhile Dutch startup Axelera was showing its analog in memory computing chip using its DIANA architecture.
Belgian research lab imec is of course one of the major contributors of papers for the conference and this year was no exception. One paper was on analog-to-digital converters, but the details of a plastic 8bit 6502 processor perhaps highlights the digital skills in the region, coupled with process technology expertise.
But ISSCC is a global conference, and Intel was detailing the construction its largest ever device, the Ponte Vecchio graphics processor unit (GPU) and a novel chip for reducing the power consumption of mining bitcoin cryptocurrency.
At the same time Mediatek’s design team in Austin Texas used adaptive voltage scaling to boost the performance of the ARMv9 processor cores, including the next generation x2 core, to 3.4GHz. Down the road in Dallas, researchers built a single chip power converter in gallium nitride with the drivers and MOSFETs in a key step forward for integration
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