New Horizons for Chip Design


Top 5 Moments from SEMICON West and DAC 2020

Aart de Geus Keynote SEMICON West

By Editorial Team

For those in the semiconductor industry, last week was like Christmas in July with the much-anticipated 50th Anniversary of SEMICON West and Design Automation Conference 2020 (DAC) being held in parallel. Although these virtual events relied on Wi-Fi connections instead of flight connections, they still brought together electronics design, manufacturing and EDA professionals from around the globe to share new ideas and forge connections. In particular, semiconductor professionals explored the themes of emissions control, artificial intelligence, geopolitical environment, and more in both formal keynotes and virtual networking sessions.

“As we embrace the cusp of the next industrial revolution, SEMI [has gathered] industry legends and future leaders for a powerful event headlined by A-list speakers and a full exhibition experience,” said Dave Anderson, president of SEMI Americas and host of the gathering.

In case you missed them, here are our five favorite moments from SEMICON West and DAC 2020:

  1. Former Vice President Al Gore’s Conversation: Former VP Al Gore was the guest of honor at SEMICON West, interviewed by’s editor Heather Clancy. Although the data that Gore shared around climate change was sobering, he did give us reason to be hopeful. Advances in processing, communications and data analysis technologies combined with the urgency that has emerged out of the pandemic can lead to sustainable change. In the semiconductor industry specifically, Gore highlighted innovations in how semiconductors are packaged and how that’s enabled the next generation of algorithms which power things like drug discovery and smart electricity grids. He also mentioned innovations new semiconductor materials in the automotive arena, such as silicon carbide that has increased the range of electric vehicles as it withstands higher voltages and operates at higher temperatures. You can read a partial transcript of the conversation on

Al Gore Silicon Carbide

  1. Synopsys’s Aart de Geus Keynote: Our very own co-CEO’s closing keynote presentation was held on the last day of the SEMICON West conference. Embodying the phrase, “He or she who has the brains to understand should have the heart to help,” Aart’s presentation focused on harnessing the power of the semiconductor industry to help solve global issues such as flattening the COVID-19 curve and stopping/reversing the dire effects of climate change. In much the same way that our engineers think about optimizing performance, power and area (PPA) for the best chip design possible, we need to begin applying our collective brain power to issues of large scale and systemic complexity. Aligning with Vice President Al Gore’s keynote, Aart said that “the technology that EDA enables can help us fight climate change and can play a part in helping researchers find a vaccine for COVID-19.” Aart also stressed that companies cannot forget the importance of corporate responsibility by taking action such as measuring their own emissions, switching to clean energy and more.

SEMICON West Keynote Synopsys

  1. Applied Materials’ Gary Dickerson New EGS Commitments: Also at SEMICON West, Applied Materials president and CEO Gary Dickerson delivered a keynote expanding on the scope of Applied’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments with a series of 10-year initiatives that will be implemented within the company and in collaboration with suppliers, customers and the computing industry as a whole. See the full keynote, featuring special guests from TSMC, Sphera and Micron, on the Applied Materials blog.
  1. Debating Machine Learning & CAD at DAC: Meanwhile at DAC, our Synopsys AI expert Dr. Thomas Andersen participated in a lively panel that discussed and debated the two main challenges that must be addressed as we look to apply machine learning successfully to computer-aided design (CAD) of electronic systems. First, at what levels of abstraction is machine learning applicable? Second, how do we manage the huge amounts of data required to apply machine learning? Synopsys has helped push ML forward in the EDA space with our and 3DIC technology.

Design Space Optimization machine learning

  1. SEMI’s Mid-Year Total Semiconductor Equipment Forecast Reveal: At the close of the conference “A Prescription for Recovery” media conference held on July 21, SEMI announced that sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment by original equipment manufacturers are projected to increase 6% to $63.2 billion in 2020 compared to $59.6 billion in 2019, before logging a record high revenue of $70 billion in 2021 on the strength of double-digit growth. In addition, the semiconductor test equipment market is expected to increase 13 percent, reaching $5.7 billion in 2020, and continue the growth momentum in 2021 due to 5G demand.

Semiconductor manufacturing projections 2021

Next up, catch us at the ARC Processor Virtual Summit on September 9-10 to hear our experts, users and ecosystem partners discuss the most recent trends and product developments in ARC-based processor solutions.