HITACHI

<p>Neither firm would release any details, but Japan's <i>Nihon Zeizai Shimbun </i> business newspaper reported that the expanded joint venture will take over Hitatchi's Singapore DRAM fab and NEC's DRAM fab in Hiroshima. The paper said the new operation would launch construction of a next-generation 300-mm wafer fab in Hiroshima to start production in 2002.</p>

By making its DRAM more flash-friendly, the company hopes to build business on the flash front while maintaining a leading position in its traditional markets. Evolving in parallel to its DRAM road map, Micron's flash program has entered its synchronous phase, and in terms of pinout, voltage, density, packaging, and bank architecture, is nearly identical to PC100 SDRAM. PC133 SDRAM- and double-data-rate-compatible flash versions will follow.

File translators from SmartLynx (Londonderry, N.H.) would similarly ensure that what Ansoft calls Met1 = layer 1 metal” would occupy the same cells in the EPDeS database as the property Cadence calls conductor resistivity.”

The EPDeS demonstration was orchestrated by Mike Heimlich, SmartLynx's chief technology officer, and his engineering team. The company's data format conversion software was embedded in the Ansoft Serenade and Cadence Analog Artist software to facilitate easy design movement between the two.

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The purpose of the demo, Brown said, was to show how data from five materials suppliers — Dupont, GIL Technologies, Heraeus, Rogers and Taconic — could fit into a standardized” materials database and then be transferred seamlessly to five EDA tool platforms (Agilent's ADS, CAD Design Software's Electronic Package Designer and Mentor Graphics' Design Architect, in addition to the Ansoft and Cadence tools), while keeping the design intact.

In reality, only DuPont's low-temperature cofired ceramics were used to design a wireless thermometer. The design used the temperature coefficient of a resistive material to control the bias current on an FM transmitter operating in the vicinity of 2.4 GHz. Simulators on the Cadence and Ansoft systems to which the design was moved generated similar waveforms in response to temperature sweeps.

Money questions

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As with any Web-based venture, funding remains an issue. The IWPC is considering whether its EPDeS site will be underwritten by materials suppliers and free to users, or funded by users on a pay-per-use basis. The project will require $10 million from outside investors over a two-year period, in addition to $2 million supplied via IWPC dues, said Brown. Government programs are another possibility, he said, as long as they support international cooperative efforts.

Opening the e-commerce door a bit wider, the U.S. Senate passed the Millennium Digital Commerce bill last week, the next step in conferring contracts signed with a digital signature with the same legal standing as traditional paper agreements.

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It opens the possibility of doing more transactions electronically,” said John Palafoutas, senior vice president for domestic policy at the American Electronics Association. It brings some standardization and uniformity to contracts, especially in cases where commerce crosses state lines.”

While a boost for e-commerce, differences between the Senate legislation and a version adopted by the House earlier this month must still be hammered out. Lawmakers are not likely to come back on the issue until February when they return from winter recess, Palafoutas said.

In addition to its recent introductions, Sawtek plans in the next 12 months to unveil SAW filters for other wireless applications, including RF parts for GSM and TDMA applications.

The company will then focus on the emerging 3G standard for a world phone that will combine all existing standards in one cell phone, Link said, adding that he doesn't expect this market to develop for another two years.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–Growth resumed in semiconductor equipment orders and shipments during October, with North American suppliers posting a book-to-bill ratio of 1.09 after seeing the index slip slightly in September.

The October numbers show that equipment orders are back on track for full recovery,” said Stanley Myers, president of the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) trade group, which released its monthly business barometer here late Monday evening. The resurgence of the global semiconductor industry, coupled with positive economic and industry forecasts for 2000, appear to be finally spurring growth in capital spending.”

SEMI's book-to-bill index nudge up to 1.09 in October from September's revised 1.07 reading, suggesting that North American equipment suppliers were receiving $109 in new orders for each $100 worth of products shipped worldwide last month. Since spring, the trade group's index had been sliding downward after surging early this year. Some capital equipment suppliers and analysts have suggested that the full recovery in capital spending was being pushed back while semiconductor manufacturers attempted to digest the latest wave of upgrades to existing wafer fabs before launching new chip-processing plants.

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The public offering puts significant numbers on [ACT's] balance sheet. ACT has size, scale, and broad capabilities,” Jordan said.

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