Amir Faintuch to lead CWI Unit of Globalfoundries

As part of its new vertical reorganization, GLOBALFOUNDRIES appointed Amir Faintuch as senior vice president and general manager of the computing and wired infrastructure (CWI) business unit (SBU). Faintuch will oversee the strategic direction, roadmap definition and client engagements.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ reorganization includes the establishment of dedicated strategic business units around three core market groups: Automotive, Industrial and Multi-market (AIM); Mobile and Wireless Infrastructure (MWI); and Computing and Wired Infrastructure (CWI).  GLOBALFOUNDRIES  is considered the second largest provider of Semiconductor production services, following the leader TSMC. It plan to expand its presence in the $47 billion addressable foundry market for 12nm technologies and above.

Faintuch  brings to the job more than 25 years of experience in the semiconductor, communications and software industries. Prior to joining GF, he had served for four years as Senior Vice President & General Manager of Intel’s Platform Engineering Group (PEG). He was brought to Intel from its fierce competitor Qualcomm, where he held the position of President of Qualcomm Atheros, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc. that develops networking, connectivity infrastructure and Internet of Things components.

New Platform for AI chips

 “The growing demand for AI technology and high performance compute solutions represent a significant opportunity,” said Thomas Caulfield, CEO of GF. “As GF continues to build its specialized application solutions to meet our clients’ needs, Amir’s expertise will help further advance our strategic cloud and client offerings.” The appointment comes on the heels of recent GF announcements regarding the availability of 12LP+, GF’s new innovative solution for AI training and inference applications.

Derived from GF’s existing 12nm (12LP) platform, the new 12LP+ provides either a 20% increase in performance or a 40% reduction in power requirements over the base 12LP platform, plus a 15% improvement in logic area scaling. A key feature is a high-speed, low-power 0.5V SRAM bit cell that supports the fast, power-efficient shuttling of data between processors and memory, an important requirement for AI applications.

 Another key feature of 12LP+ is a new interposer for 2.5D packages, which facilitates the integration of high-bandwidth memory with processors. According to Michael Mendicino, vice president of Digital Technology Solutions at GF, “12LP+ solution offers clients the performance and power advantages they would expect to gain from a 7nm process, but with half the costs.” The 12LP+ PDK is available now and GF is already working with several clients. Tape outs are expected in the second half of 2020 and volume production is set for 2021 from GF’s Fab 8 in Malta, New York.

GlobalFoundreis aborts 7nm Development

Photo above: GlobalFoundries’ Fab-1 in Dresden, Germany

The second largest semiconductor’s foundry (The first is TSMC), GlobalFoundries, announced a departure from the race to achieve smaller transistor nodes.  The company said it is putting its 7nm FinFET program on hold indefinitely and restructuring its research and development teams to support its enhanced portfolio initiatives. Mainly shifting the development resources to make its 14/12nm FinFET platform more relevant to the clients, and to add innovative IP and features including RF, embedded memory, low power and more. “This will require a workforce reduction, however a significant number of top technologists will be redeployed on 14/12nm FinFET derivatives and other differentiated offerings.”

The newly appointed CEO of GlobalFoundries, Tom Caulfield, mentioned that the demand for semiconductors has never been higher. But, “The vast majority of today’s fabless customers are looking to get more value out of each technology generation to leverage the substantial investments required to design into each technology node. This industry dynamic has resulted in fewer fabless clients designing into the outer limits of Moore’s Law.”

The ASIC Business will be Independent Company

saicIn addition, GF is establishing its ASIC business as a wholly-owned subsidiary, independent from the foundry business. This independent ASIC entity will provide clients with access to alternative foundry options at 7nm and beyond, while allowing the ASIC business to engage with a broader set of clients, especially the growing number of systems companies that need ASIC capabilities and more manufacturing scale than GF can provide alone.

“Lifting the burden of investing at the leading edge will allow GF to make more targeted investments in technologies that really matter to the majority of chip designers in fast-growing markets such as RF, IoT, 5G, industrial and automotive,” said Samuel Wang, research vice president at Gartner. “While the leading edge gets most of the headlines, fewer customers can afford the transition to 7nm and finer geometries. 14nm and above technologies will continue to be the important demand driver for the foundry business for many years to come.”