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AI boosts Hybrid Bonding Technology

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The rapid rise of new artificial intelligence (AI) applications -- boosted recently by broad interest in generative AI (GenAI) -- is having a dramatic impact on the semiconductor industry.

It is accelerating demand for compute capacity that will outpace the capabilities of current chipset technologies underpinning today's high-performance infrastructures, platforms and devices, according to Dr. Seung Kang, vice president of strategy at Adeia, a leader in the semiconductor intellectual property arena.

Rising interest in AI across nearly every vertical segment of the global digital economy is expected to drive a surge in demand for hybrid bonding technology across the semiconductor industry.

According to analysts at Gartner, semiconductors designed to execute AI workloads will represent a $53.4 billion revenue opportunity for the semiconductor industry in 2023, an increase of 20.9% from 2022. AI-centric semiconductor revenue will continue to experience double-digit growth over the next few years, increasing 25.6% in 2024 to $67.1 billion and reaching $119.4 billion by 2027.

"AI is dramatically impacting the industry because it is accelerating the need for increasingly powerful and energy-efficient computing systems, surpassing the capabilities of incumbent semiconductor platforms. Let me elaborate. AI workloads are computationally intensive, demanding semiconductor systems that are customized for massive parallel computing," Kang says.

Currently, the key drivers of such systems are a graphics processing unit (GPU) and high-bandwidth memory (HBM) which are coherently integrated with high-speed interconnects. To meet state-of-the-art AI system requirements, unprecedented performance benchmarks are needed. This is especially true when dealing with large language models. However, both processors and memory components face fundamental semiconductor scaling challenges.

"GPUs and AI-customized neural processors rely on cutting-edge logic nodes that offer a smaller footprint, lower power consumption and faster speed. As the demand for computing performance continues to grow, realizing such processors on a monolithic chip -- even at the most advanced node -- becomes increasingly challenging. In such cases, the desired approach is to disaggregate and reassemble chips in new form factors without significant trade-offs," explains Kang.

There is a growing consensus in the industry that hybrid bonding technology will become widely adopted both for processors and for HBMs. Compared with other methods, hybrid bonding offers inherent advantages in high-density IO (input-output), reduced parasitic delay, shorter height and improved thermal performance.

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