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ISSCC 2011 TRENDS REPORT - page 1 / 16





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ISSCC remains the pre-eminent forum for the discussion of the latest state-of-the-art integrated circuit solutions across a variety of application areas including:

  • Analog

  • Microprocessors

  • Imagers, MEMS, Medical, and Display Devices

  • Memory

  • Radio Frequency

  • Technology Directions

  • Wireline Communications

Over time, ISSCC has observed a number of trends in these application areas in terms of how technology has developed over time, and where it is headed in the both the near and long terms. This report serves as a summary of these trends, as seen by the industrial and academic experts that make up the International Technical Program Committee of the ISSCC.


With the increasing excitement over the digital world, people often forget that the real world is actually analog. Even though most of our technologies process information via computers and digital circuitry, the signals themselves originate and end up in analog form, such as sound and radio waves. Furthermore, all electronic circuits, whether analog or digital, must be supplied with power, and the power supply circuits are inherently analog. Nevertheless, digital circuits such as microprocessors, drive the market; so, integrated circuit (IC) technology (used in the factories that make integrated circuits) have been optimized relentlessly over the last 40 years to reduce the size, cost, and power consumption of digital circuits. This trend has made analog circuitry increasingly difficult to implement, yet the number of essential analog interface circuits and their performance requirements have increased.

Interestingly, analog designers have turned the curse of this trend away from “analog-friendly” IC technology into a cure. Rather than struggle to overcome the problem with traditional, time- tested analog circuit tricks, they have turned toward the utilization of digital signal-processing circuits, embedded within the analog-circuit blocks, to overcome analog-circuit limitations. This new approach blurs the distinction between analog and digital circuit design, but yields continued advances in the analog state-of-the-art. Increasingly, these techniques have enabled

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