SIA Blog

What is Moore’s Law and Why is it So Great?

Posted by Falan Yinug, Director, Industry Statistics and Economic Policy on Apr 16, 2015 10:30:00 AM

April 19 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Gordon Moore’s seminal article in Electronics Magazine, which laid out the pace at which semiconductor technology advancement would occur. This observation, which has come to be known as “Moore’s Law,” states that the number of transistors on a semiconductor would double every two years, thereby rapidly increasing the functionality of semiconductors and the electronic products they enable.

Today, some semiconductors contain billions of transistors, and the transformation of certain downstream products because of this functionality growth has become almost a cliché – think of the comparison of the “brick” phone of the 1980s to the much more powerful smartphones of today!

When you add it all up, the number of transistors that are created today by the semiconductor industry is simply mind-blowing. Dan Hutcheson of VLSI Research has calculated that 7.6 trillion transistors were produced in 2014 per second. PER SECOND!!! Hutcheson puts this number in perspective by making some compelling analogies: 7.6 trillion is “…25.4 times more stars in the Milky Way … or 76.1 times more Galaxies in the universe.” And my personal favorite: “… if every transistor was worth one dollar, our industry would pass World GDP in about 10 seconds.”

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Topics: technology, Moore's Law

H-1B Visa Limit Shows Urgent Need for Immigration Reform

Posted by Dustin Todd, Director of Government Affairs on Apr 2, 2015 11:00:00 AM

When it comes to America’s high-skilled immigration system, demand for talent far exceeds supply.

That unfortunate fact will be reinforced this week as the U.S. government begins accepting applications from employers for H-1B visas for highly educated workers who are needed to fill open jobs in the U.S.

Since U.S. businesses demand far more skilled workers than are provided by U.S. citizens or permanent residents, we need to fill this gap with highly educated immigrant workers, many of whom have been educated in America’s colleges and universities. Since this demand for immigrant workers exceeds the current statutory cap of 65,000 H-1B visas (plus an additional 20,000 for those with advanced degrees from U.S. universities), the limit likely will be reached in a matter of days.

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Topics: immigration

The SIA Factbook: Your Source for the Latest Semiconductor Industry and Market Data

Posted by Falan Yinug, Director, Industry Statistics and Economic Policy on Apr 1, 2015 1:30:00 PM

Did you know that the global semiconductor industry reached record sales of $336 billion in 2014? Did you know that the U.S. semiconductor industry maintained market share leadership with 51 percent of the global market in 2014? Did you know that semiconductors were America’s third-leading manufactured export in 2014 behind only airplanes and automobiles? These facts and many others are now available in SIA’s 2015 Factbook [download here]. Below is an example of the type of data presented in the Factbook.

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Topics: market, sales, data

What End Use Applications Drove Semiconductor Sales in 2014?

Posted by Falan Yinug, Director, Industry Statistics and Economic Policy on Mar 18, 2015 10:30:00 AM

The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization recently published its annual Semiconductor End-Use Report for 2014, which breaks down sales by end-use and regional end-market for a wide variety of semiconductor products. The figure below shows the six major semiconductor end applications by percent share of total semiconductor end sales for 2014.

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Topics: end use report, sales

Myths vs. Facts: Setting the Record Straight on Immigration

Posted by David Isaacs, Vice President, Government Affairs on Mar 17, 2015 1:30:00 PM

When it comes to the immigration debate in Washington, too often the facts get lost in the rhetoric. To set the record straight on immigration, SIA and a group of 18 other industry leaders have developed a document titled "Debunking the Myth that Immigration Harms America." The document, which was presented today at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, examines and discredits a series of common misconceptions about immigration. 

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Topics: immigration, workforce

UN Should Not Prohibit Use of Chemicals Vital to Semiconductor Manufacturing

Posted by David Isaacs, Vice President, Government Affairs on Mar 10, 2015 1:00:00 PM

At a meeting in Vienna, Austria this week, a United Nations commission will decide whether to restrict the use of two chemicals of critical importance to the semiconductor industry under an international drug control agreement. In comments to the U.S. government, SIA outlined its strong opposition to the restriction of these chemicals and urged U.S. representatives to vote against it. SIA also has urged other governments to oppose this listing, and we have received support from the other semiconductor associations that are part of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC).

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Topics: environment, materials, chemicals

Semiconductor Industry Primer: The Stages of Production and Business Models

Posted by Falan Yinug, Director, Industry Statistics and Economic Policy on Feb 25, 2015 2:00:00 PM

[Note: This is part one of a series on the semiconductor manufacturing process and the associated industry business models.]

Often, I am asked by people new to the semiconductor industry how semiconductors are made. While the science and engineering behind how semiconductors are made is akin to modern day alchemy and the process is quite complicated, I try to answer this question by outlining the three basic stages of semiconductor production and describing how semiconductor firms choose to participate in this production process.

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Topics: semiconductors 101

New Immigration Policy Will Increase Access to Talent, Strengthen U.S. Semiconductor Industry

Posted by Dustin Todd, Director of Government Affairs on Feb 24, 2015 6:30:00 PM

In a meaningful, incremental step forward in the effort to reform America’s high-skilled immigration system, the Obama Administration today announced a new regulation that will allow spouses of certain high-skilled immigrants working in the U.S. to apply for work authorization of their own. This common sense initiative will increase companies’ access to the world’s top talent and help spur growth in the U.S. semiconductor industry and our economy, but additional high-skilled immigration reform is urgently needed.

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Topics: Counterfeit semiconductors, immigration

Tech Leaders Urge Congress to Swiftly Enact Trade Promotion Authority to Strengthen Economy, Open Markets

Posted by John Neuffer, President & CEO on Feb 12, 2015 11:00:00 AM

SIA and a coalition of technology leaders today urged Congress to approve Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, which would help the United States negotiate and finalize key trade agreements that will lower tariffs, boost U.S. exports and create jobs:

“TPA gives the U.S. one voice on trade … [It] strengthens our country's negotiating position and provides our negotiating partners the confidence they need to give us their best offers – resulting in the strongest possible agreements for American businesses and workers.”

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Topics: trade

How Did the Global Semiconductor Market Reach Record Sales in 2014?

Posted by Falan Yinug, Director, Industry Statistics and Economic Policy on Feb 6, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Last November, when I wrote about industry sales through the third quarter of 2014, I said that it was hard to envision final 2014 sales not being the highest annually on record and that a more interesting question to consider was whether final 2014 annual sales would surpass the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics’ (WSTS) forecast at the time of 6.5 percent growth, which WSTS later revised to 9.0 percent growth.

As the final 2014 Global Sales Report revealed earlier this week, 2014 annual sales were indeed record-breaking at $335.8 billion, and annual growth did indeed surpass not just WSTS’s old forecast of 6.5 percent but also its revised forecast of 9.0 percent, coming in at 9.9 percent. Besides the annual year-over-year record sales increase in 2014, quarterly year-over-year and monthly year-over-year (December) sales also grew by 9.3 percent each.

The table below compares 2014 monthly global semiconductor sales totals (on a three-month moving average) with monthly sales totals from 2009 through 2013. From the start to the end of 2014, monthly sales were consistently ahead of the pace set in each of the previous five years. [Source: World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) data]

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Topics: GSR