According to LexisNexis Intellectual Property Solutions, high-performance computing semiconductors are said to be behind the AI-boom. AI implementations are on everyone’s lips like ChatGPT and autonomous driving systems. However, the recent rise of AI is built on the advances in semiconductor device manufacturing to produce HPC devices.
Looking at the top 20 advanced semiconductor device manufacturing patent owners, TSMC is clear leader in advanced manufacturing with the largest portfolio size, number of active patent families, and highest patent asset index. Samsung and ASML come in second and third, respectively.
Now, CMOS logic will be required for tomorrow’s HPC. Will Mansfield, Head of Consulting and Customer Success in Americas + CEMEA, LexisNexis Intellectual Property Solutions, said that CMOS logic is — as it always was — the workhorse of the actual computations in CPU and GPU.
TSMC's currently leads, both in terms of portfolio size and strength as of today, for gate-all-around (GAA) transistors. Samsung, IBM, and Intel, are all increasing both the size and quality of their portfolios.
Samsung started its GAA production at 3nm process node, reportedly reserving initial production for cryptocurrency miners. Both TSMC and Intel announced to start their GAA production at 2nm process node in next couple of years.
Dirk Caspary, Senior Consultant, LIP, said GAA transistor channels are fully surrounded with the gate, thus providing a better performance and reduced leakage than FinFET. In terms of Patent Asset Index, TSMC is the current leader, followed by Samsung and Intel. The followers work to further develop their GAA intellectual property, and increase their market share.
Advanced packaging role
Now, we are also augmenting transistor innovation, and advanced packaging has a major role to play. Near-memory computing requirement is fulfilled by advanced packaging like Intel's embedded interconnect bridge (EMIB) and Foveros.
Nvidia's H100 is a commercialized example for advanced packaging, which builds on TSMC’s CoWoS technology. Another example is AMD's MI300, which uses TSMC’s CoWoS and system-on-integrated chips (SoICs). In advanced packaging, TSMC is clearly dominating this field, followed by Samsung and Intel.
How is advanced packaging augmenting transistor innovation today? It enables to increase the integration density by overcoming the manufacturing problems of system-on-chip (SoC) solutions.
Extending Moore's Law
In future, folks are working on extending the Moore's Law. Mansfield observed that first, there was Gordon Moore's observation, called, Moore's Law. Then, there are More Then Moore and Beyond More Than Moore, which are regarded as buzzwords representing broader technological developments and advancements in CMOS logic and packaging.
For HPC, even shorter interconnection and higher data transfer rates between chips and chiplets are necessary. TSMC set an early lead in cutting-edge advanced fine-pitch packaging technology, and has continue to develop over the last decade. Co-development of advanced CMOS logic and advanced packaging will be key to enable the next generation of HPC devices.