Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation is promoting R&D of semiconductor and storage technology for industrial, automotive, and information applications. Here, we introduce the principal technologies.
Efforts to realize autonomous driving systems and intelligent industrial equipment systems are spurring demand for high-performance, low-power, cutting-edge LSIs. We achieve highly accurate, low-power image recognition for intelligent systems like advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) by pursuing R&D of image recognition algorithms powered by deep neural networks (DNN), simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithms for determining vehicle location, hardware accelerators to enable efficient execution of those algorithms, and more.
With the latest systems on chips (SoCs), design complexity advances to a new higher level to meet the needs for low-voltage, high-current operation and high-speed communication. Therefore, to achieve the desired performance, collaborative design encompassing not only chips but also the package and the system board on which SoCs are mounted is necessary. Using highly accurate simulations, we pursue development of package design to maximize SoC performance on the customer’s system board. In addition, assuming customer systems, with a view to early verification, we pursue development focused on board design, manufacturing and evaluation.
Along with the electrification of cars and the high performance of electronic devices for industrial and consumer use, improved conversion efficiency and downsizing of power converters for power supplies are required. It is necessary to improve switching speed of power converters, increase the accuracy of control, downsize parts and reduce their number of parts. To meet these demands, we are developing high-performance ICs (gate driver ICs, isolation ICs) and low-voltage power ICs.
To develop products incorporating power devices, it is necessary to understand the characteristics of semiconductor devices before designing circuits and layouts. We are developing circuit simulation models that can be used to clarify the characteristics of power devices and verify their application to power systems. Furthermore, we are publishing reference designs on the Web incorporating the circuit and layout technology that maximizes the characteristics of power devices.
Silicon carbide (SiC) elements are used in power devices for social infrastructure to improve power conversion efficiency. Semiconductor packaging and assembly technology are crucially important for bringing the performance of SiC elements into full play. The developed products are incorporated in industrial motor drives and drive systems for electric railways.
We are developing TCAD (technology CAD) as well as circuit model and PCM (process compact model) technology to enhance product competitiveness and increase the profitability of discrete semiconductors, mixed signal ICs, and linear sensors. Utilizing TCAD, which refers to the manufacture and design of semiconductors on computers, can accelerate product development by verifying applications and prototyping. Furthermore, accurate circuit model technology can calculate the circuit performance of devices and products while also reducing the circuit design time. In addition, PCM technology is mass-production technology that takes into account various divergent distributions in semiconductor manufacturing to improve product yields.
As big data rapidly takes center stage in contemporary society, there is an insatiable appetite for ever-larger memory capacity and higher reliability at data centers and elsewhere. To increase HDD storage capacity, it is desirable to mount as much board wiring as possible with high reliability while making PCB (printed circuit boards) and components as small as possible. Regarding HDD products filled with helium to stabilize disk rotation, we develop PCB and connectors that allow connectors to be routed from inside the drive while keeping the drive filled with helium.
Each HDD customer has various requests reflecting the shift to drives with larger memory capacity and changing end-customer needs. We have to develop software for HDDs in a timely manner while maintaining quality. Product line engineering technology is one of the most important software technologies for satisfying these rapidly changing requests.
This technology builds reusable software assets in product families that form product systems and reuses them to develop individual products. There are common software assets applicable to all products and unique ones for each product. We need to build reusable development assets (requested specifications, architectures, frameworks and test specifications, etc.). For HDD software, it is normally necessary to fine-tune the software to customer specifications while minimizing impacts from SoCs mounted in HDD drives.
Two principal software technologies are applied in HDDs. One is embedded software technology to manage overall control in SoCs, from host command processing to reading/writing on disks. It is important to develop large-scale software effectively and secure its quality. We need to address each customer’s specific requests. To resolve the various challenges encountered in development, we fully utilize state-of-the-art product line engineering technologies.
The other is security firmware technology to maintain data security. As it is always essential to comply with the world’s security standards, our hardware IP (internet protocol) and firmware engineers collaborate and review these standards to decide security system specifications, and then embed them in our products in a timely manner to ensure they have highly robust security systems compliant with the relevant standards.
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