Mining Data Value is the Next Big Thing
Chips have entered the Age of Convergence. From unmanned driving to virtual reality, from artificial intelligence to cloud computing, from 5G to IoT, there are many forces driving the continuous advancement of semiconductor testing technology. As more and more functions are carried on a chip, and technology grows more and more complex, the number and types of test steps must be multiplied, which, in turn, leads to increased test costs. Semiconductor test equipment requires ultra-long “standby,” which is an asset-heavy investment in semiconductor manufacturing plants, with a life cycle of at least 5 to 10 years. In an intelligent world where chip technology and processes are rapidly upgraded and iterated, such equipment must be able to meet increasingly complex testing needs at any time.
Testing always needs to be ahead of the chip. So, given the long “standby,” what techniques need to continuously update test equipment? In the battle to balance yield improvement and cost control, developing advanced capabilities in test equipment has become imperative. This means that test and measurement solutions must expand to address the entire semiconductor industry value chain. While still addressing the traditional “center” of testing (IC production processes, wafer test and final test), test technology must shift both left (to enable greater integration with IC design) and right toward more system-level testing (SLT) at the product level, as well as go upward to access the cloud, AI and big data.
The value of a large amount of semiconductor test data needs to be tapped and utilized, because it can not only improve test efficiency and ensure product yield, but it is also vital to optimizing test plans and controlling costs through data analysis. This is also a foundational imperative for Advantest and PDF Solutions, a provider of comprehensive data solutions for the semiconductor ecosystem.
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