SEMICON West – An Overview

San Francisco’s Moscone Center was filled with excitement and expectancy as the SEMICON West conference kicked off on July 10th-12th, 2018. SEMICON West is an essential part of building and expanding business in this increasingly widespread field of semiconductors.


The theme this year was “Beyond Smart”, and thousands of business leaders, technical experts, researchers, and analysts came together over these three days to learn, understand, and apply the most innovative concepts and highly advanced semiconductor systems which could drive their business upwards.

Smart technologies were the center of attention as this flagship event occupied three whole days with ideas, insights and technologies to boost the industry. Receptions, award ceremonies and numerous interactive sessions with experts were just some of the chances it offered to meet and impress the greats in this field.


SEMICON West 2018 boasted an agenda packed with exhibitions of advanced electronics and keynote speeches from some of the smartest and best known global leaders of the industry. Covering more than 22 areas such as advanced manufacturing, innovative smart packaging, smart data, smart transportation, big data, the IoT, sensors and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), smart workforce, blockchain, smart medtech, the program scintillated with 19 “Meet the Experts Theater” sessions.

These ranged from applications of artificial intelligence in microelectronics through smart transportation using flash memory in automotive applications, to smart manufacturing using new memory technologies to handle data volumes. The focus is on sharing and connecting daring new ideas, advances and prototypes as well as the best devices to link the whole electronics supply chain, with incredible networking opportunities.

Keynote Speakers

Seven keynote addresses were delivered by world-famous leaders in their fields, discussing issues and potential opportunities. These included Dr. John E. Kelly III Senior Vice President, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research who spoke of how this could truly be called the era of AI.

William Dally PhD., Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President of Research (NVIDIA) described how the best Deep Learning methods and hardware could be developed.

Mark Papermaster CTO and Senior Vice President of Technology and Engineering (Advanced Micro Devices) explained the concept and practice of Machine Learning.

Gary Dickerson, President and CEO (Applied Materials) discussed the current importance of AI.

Amir Husain Founder and CEO, SparkCognition, who also had a book signing for his title The Sentient Machine, spoke on dealing with industrial AI and intelligence at the edge.

Melissa Schilling, PhD, Herzog Family Professor of Management, Professor of Management & Organizations, New York University, detailed the fascinating stories of some groundbreaking scientists who transformed the world.

Wolfgang Juchmann, PhD, Vice President, Sales & Business Development (AutonomouStuff) showed vividly how semiconductors held the key to future autonomous technology.

Smart Pavilions

Several separate pavilions displayed the latest in smart manufacturing, smart workforce, smart transportation, and special sessions for college students, using interactive technology for a virtual-reality submersion into cutting-edge products in global microelectronics.

Automotive technology has benefited greatly from microelectronics gains, and drives further innovation in this field by demanding more intelligent performance in transportation. The Smart Manufacturing pavilion showcases advances in factory manufacture to cut losses and boost profits by the use of AI in this workflow design and implementation.

The Smart Workforce brought together entry-level professionals with industry recruiters, mentors and coaches, as well as hosting the High Tech U in partnership with SEMI. This program helps high school students be exposed to STEM education while showing them what a SEMI career looks like, and is supported by industry leaders such as Advantest, Edwards, KLA-Tencor and TEL.


SEMICON 2018 provided opportunities to discover and experience dozens of new products to streamline and improve the workflow, from over 570 exhibitors who set up demonstrations of cutting-edge products as well as interactive presentations, in thousands of booths.

Below are some of the exhibitors who attended SEMICON West 2018:

  • ABB Measurements and Analytics, with its renowned line of high-quality laboratory, process and at-line analyzers, including spectrometers, wet-process analyzers and laser-based measurement instruments, starring the advanced TALYS ASP310 which minimizes chemical usage and excursion events using its ability to predict bath components real-time.
  • Advanced Energy was another exhibitor with an impressive range of power and controller devices, providing tested and proven control capabilities to regulate the power supply to high-technology semiconductor applications, ranging from X-ray analysis to mass spectrometry.
  • HORIBA Instruments showed off its process inspection and measurement products in a dazzling display of over 200 products, including spectrometers based on FTIR, ATR-FTIR and auger electron (AES). It presented the EV 2.0 Endpoint detector to monitor ALD/ALE, the 2707S EtherCAT flow module for pressure transient insensitive mass flow, and its patented 6108 pH sensitive probe.
  • Oxford Instruments displayed versatile and configurable tools for etching and deposition of micro- and nano-structures, used to engineer semiconductors, optoelectronics, optical coatings, microfluidics and MEMS, among others.
  • Zeiss and Ametek also offered a wealth of information.

Wearable Tech

One of the main highlights of SEMICON 2018 was the Wearable Tech event, which showcased the amazing possibilities of wearable technology including sensors, energy solutions, smartwatches, smart medical technology, and the market potential at present in this area. It provided enormous opportunities for interacting with the main proponents of the Wearable Tech ecosystem such as Amazon Web, Shell, NASA and GoPro.

Award-Winning Roles

BISTel was awarded the 2018 “Best of West” Award –for its Dynamic Fault Detection (DFD®) system. This award is given by Solid State Technology and SEMI and recognizes developments in electronics manufacturing products and technologies.

The DFD achieves complete data coverage to accurately detect a fault, and so avoids modeling, while allowing smart manufacturing by slipping seamlessly into existing legacy fault detection systems.

SEMI’s 2018 Award for the Americas went to the renowned chip manufacturer Intel for its state-of-the-art process and integration efforts which helped it bring out the pioneering Integrated Silicon Photonics Transceiver at high volume for the first time. This is an optical connectivity system with immense utility in data communications and many other communication applications, and was recognized for its technical and commercial significance.

The Technical Editor Award went to Sean Larsen of Lam Research for his intricate knowledge of the Regulations, Procedure Manual, and Style Manual which has lent the unmistakable aura of excellence to his committee’s Standards. Mr. Larsen has headed the North America EHS Committee as well as several EHS task forces for over ten years.

The Corporate Device Member Award was won by Don Hadder of Intel and honors user participation in the device standards emergence. Mr. Hadder is the current leader of the Chemical Analytical Methods Task Force and chairs the North America Liquid Chemicals Committee, having been part of the Standards committees for many years.

Other Important Contributions

SEMICON West had several sessions focused on the stellar role of AI in a host of areas and applications. The world of AI was viewed from multiple angles, including existing applications that use Big Data to optimize data collection and usage and boost the delivery of goods and services efficiently, to run entire services and machines unsupervised by humans; AI and transportation disruption in smart cities; AI and edge intelligence, as well as the memory wall, are other fascinating issues that were brought up in several sessions.

SEMICON West partnered with IEEE Blockchain Initiative and IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section to discuss blockchain technology, the heart of cryptocurrency, which is booming currently and can take apart the world of manufacturing, healthcare, government, energy management, the supply chain and even the IoT itself.

Intel partnered SEMICON West 2018 in a panel discussion on achieving innovation through supply chain diversity.

The Smart Manufacturing Special Interest Group, Americas Chapter, hosted the TechXPOTsession on Smart Manufacturing uncovering the very latest methods and innovations that are speeding up development time and making production more streamlined and reliable, while cutting costs.

Automotive materials, packaging, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) including flash memory, and automotive electronics, occupied the attention of many exhibitors and presenters.

Another exciting topic for companies, freshers and veterans alike was attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry to semiconductor research and development, discussed over several Meet the Experts Theater sessions featuring talent hunters and industry leaders as well as interns.

Other interactive and networking sessions included insights from a high school champion robotics team, an exhibition hall tour for college students and young professionals, and a game to get the right answers fastest using human-size Boolean logic gates.

Environmental and health issues in the design, operation and service of semiconductor devices, as well as gender and diversity inclusion in the workforce and the supply chain, to foster innovation, were also addressed in several panel discussions.

Another fascinating topic was the need for integration of heterogeneous technologies for both data storage and critical systems at the edge, partnered by Electronic Packaging Society (EPS) of IEEE and the SEMI Americas Advanced Packaging Committee.

SEMI Member Happy Hour

The SEMI Member Happy Hour on July 10th, at the SEMI Lounge, Moscone South, was a unique time of socialization and networking over a beer or a glass of wine between SEMI members, while sharing industry trends, discussing new technologies and current research face to face. This is a great opportunity to possibly meet a customer or finance backer, or simply to pick up a brilliant idea.


Meanwhile, Intersolar was happening just across the street. This is the premier conference and exhibition for electrical energy storage and battery technology. It provides the solar and energy storage industry with a marvelous platform for data sharing and strategies, discussing upcoming trends and the shape of the market, as well as financing and developing new business models.

Huge on networking, it brings market leaders, policy stalwarts and professionals together in one place to provide plenty of opportunities to boost business and make important new contacts.


A host of technologies and ideas were presented at SEMICON West 2018, but next year is sure to be bigger and even more impressive. SEMICON West, Moscone West, San Francisco, from July 9th-11th 2019, will showcase a host of technologies from the global microelectronics industry, including MEMS, photovoltaics (PV), flexible electronics, solid state lighting (LEDs), nano-electronics, communications and computer technology, control equipment, and programmable logic controllers. Keynote speeches by industry greats will focus on the need for semiconductors in the market for professional and personal use.

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