Sunday, November 26, 2023

CHIPS for America allocates $3 billion for National Advanced Packaging

As part of the Chips for America program to drive U.S. leadership in semiconductors, $3 billion will be allocated to a new National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program.  The funding targets advanced packaging technology in the United States that can be deployed to manufacturing facilities, including recipients of CHIPS manufacturing incentives. 

An initial funding opportunity for this program is expected to be announced in early 2024.  

This initiative is outlined in the “Vision for the National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program” (NAPMP), published by CHIPS for America.

The approximately $3 billion program will be dedicated to activities that include an advanced packaging piloting facility for validating and transitioning new technologies to U.S. manufacturers; workforce training programs to ensure that new processes and tools are capably staffed; and funding for projects that focus on:  

  • materials and substrates,
  • equipment, tools and processes,
  • power delivery and thermal management,
  • photonics and connectors,
  • a chiplet ecosystem, and
  • co-design for test, repair, security, interoperability and reliability. 

“Within a decade, we envision that America will both manufacture and package the world’s most sophisticated chips,” said NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio. “This means both onshoring a high-volume advanced packaging industry that is self-sustaining, profitable and environmentally sound, and conducting the research to accelerate new packaging approaches to market.” 

The four R&D programs under the CHIPS for America initiative are:

  1. National Semiconductor Technology Center: This public-private consortium is aimed at being the central point for semiconductor research across the nation.
  2. National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program: Focused on developing the capability to package chips in multiple dimensions with various functions, known as advanced packaging, to maintain leadership in semiconductor manufacturing.
  3. Manufacturing USA Institute(s): Funded by CHIPS for America, these institutes will advance research and commercialization of semiconductor manufacturing technologies, with a focus on virtualization, simulation, automation, and workforce training.
  4. CHIPS R&D Metrology: Managed by NIST, this program involves the measurement science critical for developing new materials, packaging, and production methods for semiconductors. It includes working on reference materials, data, and calibrations for chip manufacturing equipment and advising on standards development for processes and cybersecurity

European Chips Act promises billions for semiconductor fabs

The European Parliament and the Council reached agreement to proceed with a European Chips Act aimed at strengthening European competitiveness and resilience in this strategic sector.

The European Union aims to to double its current global market share of semiconductor manufacturing to 20% in 2030.

There are three pillars to the European Chips Act.

  1. Chips for Europe Initiative will combine investments from the Union, Member States and the private sector. The Initiative will be supported by €6.2 billion of public funds, of which €3.3 billion from the EU budget agreed today for the period until 2027, the end of the current multi-annual financial framework. This support will come in addition to €2.6 billion public funding already foreseen for semiconductor technologies. The €6.2 billion will support activities, such as the development of a design platform and setting up of pilot lines to accelerate innovation and production. The Initiative will also help the establishment of competence centres, located across Europe, which will provide access to technical expertise and experimentation, helping companies, SMEs in particular, to improve design capabilities and developing skills.
  2. Spur an estimated €43 billion in public and private investments in manufacturing facilities for chipmakers and their suppliers. European Chips Act createsframework for Integrated Production Facilities and Open EU Foundries that are “first-of-a-kind” in the Union and contribute to the security of supply and to a resilient ecosystem in the Union interest.
  3. Establish a coordination mechanism between the Member States and the Commission for strengthening collaboration with and across Member States, monitoring the supply of semiconductors, estimating demand, anticipating shortages, and, if necessary, triggering the activation of a crisis stage. To address such situations, the European Chips Act establishes a dedicated toolbox of measures that can be undertaken.

VMware is now part of Broadcom

In a strategic move, Broadcom completed its acquisition of VMware, combining its deep portfolio of networking semiconductors with VMware's leading position in networking virtualization software and services. 

VMware, which was founded in 1998 and is based in Palo Alto, California,  pioneered the development of virtualization technology, which allows multiple operating systems to run on a single physical server, thereby improving efficiency, scalability, and resource utilization in computing environments. VMware's revenue for the fiscal year 2022 was approximately $12.851 billion, marking a 9.21% increase from the previous year. 

Hock Tan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Broadcom, writes: "While an important moment for Broadcom, it’s also an exciting milestone for our customers around the world. And as I said when we first announced the acquisition, we can now come together and have the scale to help global enterprises address their complex IT infrastructure challenges by enabling private and hybrid cloud environments and helping them deploy an 'apps anywhere' strategy. Our goal is to help customers optimize their private, hybrid and multi-cloud environments, allowing them to run applications and services anywhere."

The deal was first announced on 22-May-2022 as a cash-and-stock transaction that values VMware at approximately $61 billion, based on the closing price of Broadcom common stock on May 25, 2022. In addition, Broadcom was to assume $8 billion of VMware net debt. The deal had the support of VMware's Board of Directors, along with Michael Dell and Silver Lake, which own 40.2% and 10% of VMware shares outstanding.

What happens next

Broadcom is committed to VMware Cloud Foundation as the software stack that serves as the foundation of private and hybrid clouds.

The vision is to convert the typically heterogeneous enterprise IT infrastructure into a virtualized and containerized environment, enabling private and hybrid clouds. VMware will offer a rich catalog of services on top of VMware Cloud Foundation to modernize and optimize cloud environments, including the following.

  • Application networking and security - the focus is to deliver lateral protection that can be implemented in a simpler and more agile manner for VMware virtualized infrastructure. Emerging AI/GenAI techniques are leveraged to counter the evolving threat landscape.
  • Modern applications - VMware Tanzu is designed to accelerate application development, delivery and management on any cloud – on VMware Cloud Foundation as well as across all major hyperscalers. Specifically optimized for app-dev frameworks such as Spring, the leading enterprise Java application framework, Tanzu drives significant developer productivity while enabling platform teams to enforce application standards, maintain security and compliance and track app performance. 
  • Software-enabled innovations from data center to the edge - Private and hybrid cloud ambitions are gaining velocity just as modular, platform-based technologies enable agility. This is true in the data center and also becoming true at the Software-Defined Edge. 
There are no plans to tie VMware software to run specifically on Broadcom silicon, according to media interviews with Hock Tan.

Significant Milestones for VMware

1998: VMware founded by Diane Greene (president and CEO), Mendel Rosenblum (Chief Scientist), Scott Devine, Ellen Wang, and Edouard Bugnion. 

1999: VMware introduced its first product, VMware Workstation, and entered the server market in 2001 with VMware GSX Server and VMware ESX Server.

2003-2004: The company launched VMware Virtual Center, vMotion, and Virtual SMP technology and introduced 64-bit support.

2004: EMC Corporation acquired VMware for $625 million. This was followed by VMware going public in 2007, with EMC selling 15% of its shares.

2008: VMware collaborated with Cisco Systems, leading to the creation of the Cisco Nexus 1000V, a distributed virtual software switch.

2011: Introduction of Cloud Foundry, an open-source platform-as-a-service system, and transfer of Mozy backup service from EMC to VMware.

2012-2013: Pat Gelsinger was appointed CEO, and VMware spun off Pivotal Software with investment from General Electric.

2013: Launch of vCloud Hybrid Service and acquisition of Desktone.

2016: Dell's acquisition of EMC, leading to significant changes within VMware, including restructuring and executive departures.

2017: VMware was ranked 3rd in the list of highest-paying companies in the U.S. and sold vCloud Air to French cloud service provider OVH.

2021: Pat Gelsinger left VMware to join Intel; VMware announced Raghu Raghuram as the new CEO and spun off from Dell.

2022: Broadcom announced its intention to acquire VMware, a transaction valued at approximately $61 billion, including debt assumption.

Significant milestones for Broadcom

Broadcom, originally known as HP Associates, was established in 1961 as a semiconductor products division of Hewlett-Packard. The division became part of Agilent Technologies in 1999, which was later acquired by KKR and Silver Lake Partners in 2005 to form Avago Technologies. 

1961: Establishment as HP Associates, a semiconductor division of Hewlett-Packard.

1999: Became part of Agilent Technologies spinoff from Hewlett-Packard.

2005: Formation of Avago Technologies by KKR and Silver Lake Partners, acquiring Agilent's Semiconductor Products Group.

2006: Hock Tan appointed CEO of Avago Technologies

2009: Avago Technologies went public on NASDAQ.

2013: Acquisition of CyOptics for $400 million to expand fiber optics portfolio.

2013: Avago Technologies acquired LSI Corporation for $6.6 billion.

2014: Sale of SSD controller business to Seagate Technology.

2015: Avago acquired Broadcom Corporation for $37 billion, renaming the combined company Broadcom Ltd.  The original Broadcom, which was based in Irvine, California, was founded in 1991 by Henry Samueli and Henry T. Nicholas III , two professors from UCLA. It grew to about 10,000 employees worldwide, with more than 10,700 U.S. and 3,700 foreign patents. 2014 revenue was $8.43 billion. In 2014, Broadcom exited the cellular baseband business.

2018: Acquisition of CA Technologies for $18.9 billion, moving into infrastructure software.

2019: Acquisition of Symantec's enterprise security business for $10.7 billion.

Telstra biggest spender in Australia's 3.4/3.7 GHz auction

The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) announced the following results in its 3.4/3.7 GHz bands spectrum allocation process:

Of 588 lots available, 574 were allocated to bidders. The allocation realised total revenue to the Commonwealth of $721,766,300.

  • Mobile JV Pty Ltd won 44 lots of spectrum for $128,194,100.
  • NBN Co Pty Ltd won 200 lots of spectrum for $14,384,600.  
  • Optus Mobile Pty Ltd won 4 lots of spectrum for $33,539,600. 
  • Telstra Ltd won 326 lots of spectrum for $545,648,000. 

“The outcomes of the allocation process align strongly with our objectives," said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin. 

“The allocation of this spectrum will support digital connectivity, promote competition and facilitate investment in new services for Australian consumers and businesses across metropolitan and regional areas of Australia. 

The licences issued will come into force shortly, with the 3.4 GHz band licences expiring in December 2030 and the 3.7 GHz band licences expiring in January 2044.

China Telecom and China Unicom employ digital twin for shared net

Working with ZTE, China Telecom and China Unicom used a digital twin to plan and managed shared network infrastructure during the recent 19th Asian Games, which were held in Hangzhou, China, from 23 September to 8 October 2023.

The companies built a unified DTN (Digital Twin Network) featuring  centralized, transparent and proactive operation mode that assured performance to an audience of 600,000 visitors attending 48 matches held in 21 venues during the Asian Games.

Using AI and knowledge-driven digital twin modeling, the platform dynamically predicted the peak traffic and user experience. It achieved 90% accuracy in problem detection, resulting in an optimal network tuning strategy.

MediaTek tests RedCap interoperability with Keysight

MediaTek completed 5G New Radio (NR) and 5G reduced capability (RedCap) interoperability development testing (IODT) of its 5G modem based on the 3GPP Release 17 (Rel-17) standard using Keysight’s 5G Network Emulation Solutions.

The testing verified early identification, bandwidth part (BWP) definition, user equipment (UE) capability, radio resource management (RRM) relaxation, network control device-synchronization signal block (NCD-SSB), sounding reference signal (SRS) enhancement, extended discontinuous reception (eDRX), and physical uplink control channel (PUCCH) for frequency hopping. The 5G NR IODT validated the chipset supported Rel-17 features including power saving, small data transmission, and NR coverage enhancement.

Dr. Ho-Chi Hwang, General Manager of Wireless Communication System and Partnerships at MediaTek, said: “MediaTek is committed to driving market advancements in 5G NR Rel-17 and RedCap technology. We collaborate with Keysight to develop state-of-the-art 5G modem platforms, fostering a growing ecosystem of 5G device innovators.”

Prisma Photonics opens in Austin

Prisma Photonics, an Israeli startup which utilizes advanced optical fiber technology to monitor large scale power utility infrastructure,  opened its first US office in Austin, Texas. 

Founded in 2017, Prisma Photonics works with leading power utilities in the United States and Europe to deploy solutions that identify threats to transmission assets in real time while offering hyper-accurate line ratings to help utilities comply with US FERC regulations and increase capacity on congested networks.

  • Earlier in 2023, Prisma Photonics, which has been using optical fibers to monitor Israel’s national transmission electrical grid since 2020, was awarded a contract by Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to extend coverage to 1,000 km (over 620 miles), which is 20% of the transmission grid.