Connecting Dots

Connecting Dots

“There’s an app for that” is a phrase our culture has formed into a cliché over the past several years. On a recent vacation, I found myself stargazing with the love of my life. After I pointed towards two brighter pinpoints of light and wondering aloud what they were, my wife pulled out her smartphone, aimed it towards the horizon, and then plainly stated “Oh, that’s Jupiter and Saturn”. Not only did her app identify these and other celestial objects, but it also cartooned a host of those familiar constellations which have dominated the night sky canopy for time immemorial.

I am not an astronomer, but I am a strong believer in studying “dots of light”, teasing out common vectors from seemingly disparate sources, and connecting them in a creative way which drives development of new semiconductor technologies to address emerging market needs, thus providing that next wave of projects and sales to fortify and grow business. These vectors are found on different planes such as emerging customer needs, technology trends, and corporate/organizational strengths. Finding creative solutions not only requires knowledge in each area, but it also pushes you to look at old data in a new way. This reframing, together with a pinch of inspiration, can lead you to connect these dots in a unique way, thus charting a new path towards an effective solution.

Heterogeneous Integration and RF Design

One of these “dots”, a big bright one in fact, is heterogeneous integration. It is a commonly accepted belief today that advancement along the Moore’s Law trajectory in a cost-effective manner will require a move away from SoC (system on chip) and, instead, towards SiP (system in package) solutions. This highly effective approach to design and packaging allows synthesis of commercially viable solutions in a flexible and timely manner.

Since its inception the mobile market has forced semiconductor suppliers to continually innovate product offerings with ever-increasing functionality and bandwidth, all with a premium on size, power consumption, and cost. Heterogeneous integration has played a central role here, not only for the processor and memory side, but also for the RF components.

RF design can and does leverage breakthroughs made in the silicon compute market, but there is nuance in maintaining analog signal integrity which prevents use of “copy exact” solutions.  What are these limits? How can seemingly impossible barriers be negotiated in a quick and competitive manner? Taking it further, how can we craft RF solutions which harness the essence of these advanced mobile solutions and successfully apply them to tangential wireless markets, all while fitting within corporate cost structures which limit the size of investment?  These challenges provide fertile soil for new growth of ideas, a proposition which is both stimulating and exciting.

"It is a commonly accepted belief today that advancement along the Moore’s Law trajectory in a cost-effective manner will require a move away from SoC (system on chip) and, instead, towards SiP (system in package) solutions"

Conclusion

I have always been impressed with the depth of knowledge our ancestors had about the heavenly bodies that we have all searched and wondered about both then and now. Yet I am even more amazed how the ancients connected these dots in creative ways that describe the cosmos, helping us to better grasp the greater story, and prompting us to pursue new discoveries, organizing and weaving them into the tapestry of our understanding of the universe. 

What is your North Star? Which dots can you combine to revolutionize your technology and business offering? Let’s continue to follow that spark of imagination and innovate in ways which might have only been imagined one night while gazing up at the stars.

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