Samsung's $15 Billion R&D Complex to Overcome Limits of Semiconductor Scalingby Anton Shilov on August 19, 2022 9:00 AM EST
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- Samsung Foundry
Samsung on Friday broke ground for a new semiconductor research and development complex which will design new fabrication processes for memory and logic, as well as conduct fundamental research of next-generation technologies and materials. The company plans to invest KRW 20 trillion ($15 billion) in the new R&D facility by 2028.
To make more competitive logic and memory chips, companies like Samsung have to innovate across many directions, which includes new materials (for fins, for gates, for contacts, for dielectrics, just to name a few), transistor architecture, manufacturing technologies, and design of actual devices. In many cases, companies physically separate fundamental research and development of actual process technologies, but the new R&D center will conduct operations across virtually all fronts except device design.
The new facility will handle advanced research on next-generation transistors and fabrication processes for memory and logic chips as well as seek for new technologies to 'overcome the limits of semiconductor scaling.' Essentially, this means researching new materials and manufacturing techniques as well as developing actual production nodes. Given that all of these R&D operations require large scale nowadays, it is not particularly surprising that it will require Samsung to invest $15 billion in the center over the next six years.
Spreading fundamental research and applied development operations across different locations helps with bringing new talent onboard (e.g., people with academia background may be unwilling to relocate too far away from their current homes), but also creates discrepancy within one company as feedback from different departments gets slower. Ideally, scientists doing pathfinding and research, developers designing new production nodes, fab engineers, and device developers should work together on a site and get feedback from each other. But while Samsung's new R&D hub is not meant for this, it will still bring scientists and node developers together, which is a big deal.
The new R&D center will be located at Samsung's campus near Giheung, South Korea, and will be occupy around 109,000 m2 (~20 football fields). To put the number into a more relevant context, Apple's corporate headquarters — Apple Park — occupies around 259,000 m2 and houses over 12,000 of employees that do everything from management to research to product development.
The new R&D facility will work in concert with Samsung's existing R&D line in Hwaseong (which works on memory, system LSI, and foundry technologies) and the company's production complex in Pyeongtaek that can produce both DRAM (using 10nm-class technologies) and logic chips (using 5nm-class and thinner nodes). It will also be Samsung's 12th semiconductor R&D center. Meanwhile, this will be the company's first semiconductor R&D facility of this scale.
Three years ago Samsung announced plans to spend KRW 133 trillion ($100 billion today, $115 billion in 2019) on semiconductor R&D by 2030. The company allocated KRW 73 trillion ($54.6 billion) on R&D operations in South Korea, so investing $15 billion in a single research and development facility aligns perfectly with this plan.
"Our new state-of-the-art R&D complex will become a hub for innovation where the best research talent from around the world can come and grow together," said President Kye Hyun Kyung, who also heads the Device Solutions (DS) Division. "We expect this new beginning will lay the foundation for sustainable growth of our semiconductor business."
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Alistair - Friday, August 19, 2022 - linkComparing with Apple park is a bit misleading as there is a big hold in the middle ;)
Alistair - Friday, August 19, 2022 - linkhole
Khanan - Sunday, August 21, 2022 - linkComparing with Apple is generally funny since Samsung is simply much much bigger than Apple as they produce way way more things than Apple does.
Tomatotech - Monday, August 22, 2022 - linkDing! Wrong! Apple’s entire product range would fit on a kitchen table, but Samsung’s market capitalisation is about $300 billion, compared to Apple’s market capitalisation of $2.7 trillion.
These are slightly fake numbers anyway, and very different companies as Samsung makes everything from giant ships to tiny reed valves but the reality is Apple could probably buy Samsung outright with just the spare cash in Apple’s bank account.
Revenue might be a better measure. Apple sold around $400 billion of stuff last year, and Samsung sold around $250 billion of stuff, which is probably a fairer picture than comparing market values.
Congratulations to Samsung anyway for building this giant R&D plant, it’s exactly what the world needs. And it costs more than many national governments would be able to afford.
Looking at R&D spending, Samsung spends about $15 billion per year while Apple spends about $10 billion a year. So this is one area where Samsung clearly beats Apple, spending more in total and also spending about 3x more as a % of revenue. (However this R&D is spread over the thousands of goods they make whereas Apple’s $10 billion is 100% focussed on just the few items they sell.)
Vitor - Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - linkGuys, North Korea has zero air force while SK has a very, very one. Malnourished troops with limited fuel can't do shit with hundreds of advanced jets dropping bombs on them.
Wereweeb - Friday, September 2, 2022 - linkIn this thread: seppos fantasising scenarios where they get to butcher PoC
We already got that you've been brainwashed from birth, now let's talk about silicon