The STC’s Third Phase
Aida was over at the Semiconductor Test Consortium (STC) to find out what their Phase III expansion was all about and here is what she found out: The STC kicked off its Phase III expansion by officially announcing a new initiative called the Semiconductor Test Interface eXtentions or STIXTM. Originally, the STC was formed to develop standard ATE specifications for third-party vendors, instrument providers, and integrators within an OPENSTAR® compliant ATE. With STIXTM, STC is expanding beyond ATE and into the interfaces that surround the tester regardless of tester architecture and vendor. STIX is composed of several working groups aimed to develop both hardware and software specifications for the test peripherals. By standardizing these interfaces, the STC hopes to further lower the cost of test. Both IDMs and subcons can benefit by gaining higher equipment utilization and easier line balancing. In addition, equipment suppliers can benefit by reducing the need for redundant research and development efforts in non-differentiating product areas.
Here is a brief description of the existing working groups and what they do:
1) STIL: for STIL format validation suite and software object model development. 2) Docking and Interface: This group is run out of Europe and is responsible for starting a definition of common interfacing “language”. Currently, terminology varies depending on the user. There is currently no standard as to what is “left” versus “right”, or “pin down” versus “pin up”.
3) Probe card: This group, which includes TEL and ACCRTECH, is run out of Japan. The group will define the critical dimensions to enable common tooling designs (e.g., prober top plates).
4) University: This group is being run out of the U.S, and has about 40 professors worldwide belonging to it. Its objective is to drive alignment between academia and industry. The University group is working to get universities to OpenStar software classes in Japan. This ensures that newly-graduated engineers will have the ability to hit the ground running once out of school.
In addition to the existing groups, STIX are forming groups to address the following: 1) user level API-definition of software abstraction layer to provide user programming interface across tester platforms, 2) instrument Abstraction layer to provide simplified hardware and software interface specification for low-cost integration of ancillary instruments across legacy tester platforms. 3) Tooling abstraction layer-building block specifications for common components required for the interconnect from test instrument to the performance board, and 4) Asynchronous Test interface-definition of an electrical interface and protocol for test data exchange and test program flow handshake with the DUT. Groups 1 and 2 will address issues with legacy testers, while 3 and 4 will work mainly with leading edge testers.
In the future, STC will also expand working groups to address datalogging, test generation, and EDA interface.
Finally, if you are planning to attend SEMICON West, STC will be exhibiting in the West Hall in the Moscone Convention Center.
I posted 2 other articles this week in the WeQUEST section: Hybrid Autos and their Impact on the Semiconductor Market: and Why America’s Medical System is Failing It: Part III. Hybrids could actually be bigger than Flash as a market driver. Meanwhile, Yan Borodovsky’s paper on computational lithography continues to be one of the hottest papers that we’ve seen for some time.
The hottest Papers
uploaded over the past week are:
1) Secrets of Technical Innovation
2) Ocean Wave Energy Conversion Technology
3) Dynamic Power Management in and Embedded System
4) Agriculture, bio-fuels and striving for greater energy independence
5) Impact of Deliveries on Family Medicine Practice
1) AMD to Ship Industry’s First Native x86 Quad-Core Processors In August
2) Advance in Organic Semiconductor Processing
3) Inverness Medical Innovations Announces FDA Clearance of the BinaxNOW(R) Malaria Antigen Detection Rapid Test
4) California Micro Devices Lowers June Quarter Outlook
5) Program That Reduces Healthcare Cost by 15% Responds: Michael Moore’s Solution Would Increase Costs, Delays, and Deaths in America
So AMD’s PR people take the prize with the top release — congrats to all who were involved. Carnegie Mellon was a close second, where positions 3 – 5 were about half as popular.