Just Ask Happy: Integrating Design Processes With IEEE HIR


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We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

Q: How will the PCB design process change to align with the IEEE Heterogenous Integration Roadmap (HIR), and do you think this will happen?

A: This is happening now! New EDA system tools are being created for the growing automotive complexity of autonomous vehicles. These tools can also be applied to other electronic systems, such as mobile phones, 5G networking, medical, space, high-performance computing, and IoT. In the past, we called these chip-on-board (COB), multi-chip modules (MCM), and system-in-packages (SIP).

The new name is heterogeneous integrated modules (HIMs). Heterogeneous was chosen because the future modules will incorporate not just IC chips, but also power devices, passive discretes, photonics, MEMS, sensors, antennas, and batteries. Systems-on-chip (SoC) will continue to be an activity, but as Moore’s Law has flattened out, using multiple-cores processor chips w/memory is more cost-effective for greater computing power. As applications grow—and size, cost, and weight are more critical—HIMs offer the best choice to move all of these elements closely together in a module.

A good summary paper on this topic was written by Paul Wesling at the SMTA 2020 Pan-Pacific Conference, “The Heterogeneous Integrated Roadmap: Enabling Technology For Systems of the Future,” available from SMTA in August. For more details, the 584-page HIR is available at pwesling.com/hir. Its 23 chapters cover the full gamut of topics related to integrated modules, from today to 2033, for all major electronics markets.

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