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Last April, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) approved two new courses– Diploma in IC manufacturing and BE or B.tech Electronics in VLSI Design and Technology. Earlier, the Government of India has committed a total of around INR 2,30,000 crore (USD 30 billion) under various schemes like the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) and Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme to make India a global hub for electronics manufacturing.
COVID-19 and the consequent lockdown have accelerated digital transformation by leaps and bounds, increasing demand for semiconductors. The increasing adoption of the “smart” way of life has generated humongous amounts of data, and as a result, the demand for high-performance computing (HPC) has gone up.
Semiconductors lie at the heart of HPC. According to Report Ocean, the global HPC chipset market size is expected to reach USD 13.68 billion by 2027 from USD 4.30 billion in 2019.
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AI and big data drive today’s digital revolution, and the demand for semiconductors is soaring. AI has been a major catalyst for the semiconductor industry to generate business and extract economic value at every stage, from operations to design to fabrication to R&D to manufacturing to sales and even the supply chain.
Chip development and design
At the chip development and designing stage, AI can be used to avoid time-consuming iterations and ramp up yield. AI can be leveraged to automate the time-consuming processes related to physical-layout design and the verification process: The semiconductor manufacturers were able to reduce up to 30% of production costs.
Deploying ML algorithms help identify patterns in component failures, predict likely failures in new designs, and propose optimal layouts to improve yield.
Virtual inspection of wafers
AI helps modern wafer inspection systems automatically detect and classify defects early in the production process and with very high accuracy–even better than human inspections.
AI facilitates easy location and tracking of items. In addition, it provides advanced insights into complicated processes requiring error-free planning or demand forecasting.
Supply risk management
COVID-19 has underlined the importance of diversifying the supplier base. Artificial intelligence improves visibility into companies’ supplier base, drives real-time decision-making for optimised capacity, and proactively manages supply chain risks.
Procurement and planning
With the help of AI algorithms, firms can track the supply and demand and analyse the production data. The actionable insights thus derived help the procurement team to meet market demand and enhance the supply chain resilience leading to efficiency and savings.
Predictive maintenance techniques help determine the anomalies in operations and identify possible defects, if any, to fix them before they fail. AI can identify the slightest of anomalies.
According to a McKinsey report, applying AI/ML could yield up to USD 20 billion in annual value while reducing the current R&D cost by 28 to 32 percent.
According to Raj K Arora, Chief of C-DAC, the AI-spurred semiconductor market is set to grow by 18 percent over the next five years, and AI applications will push semiconductor companies to capture 40-50 percent of the total value from the AI technology stack. AI can impact the entire semiconductor value chain from accelerating the product development cycle to optimising the design to reducing costs and maximising returns on investments.
Semiconductor industry in India
According to the Indian Electronics and Semiconductors Association (IESA), the Indian semiconductor market stood at USD 27 billion in 2021 and is set to reach USD 64 billion in 2026. The semiconductor industry in India is wholly dependent on imports from China, Taiwan, Japan, the US and a few European countries. However, India has a strategic advantage when it comes to chip designing. As a result, many global integrated device manufacturers have set up design centres across India. To make the most of the scenario, the Government of India has rolled out a comprehensive program to develop a sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem in the country. The program is designed to boost the semiconductors and display manufacturing industry by offering capital support and facilitating strategic collaborations.
The GoI has also set up India Semiconductor Mission (ISM), a specialised and independent Business Division within the Digital India Corporation that aims to build a vibrant semiconductor and display ecosystem to enable India’s emergence as a global hub for electronics manufacturing and design. Led by global experts of the Semiconductor and display ecosystem the mission aims to serve as a focal point for the comprehensive, coherent, efficient, and smooth deployment of the Program for Development of Semiconductor and Display Ecosystem in consultation with the Government ministries/departments/agencies, industry, and academia.