Technology

[Invisible Memory] What is Semiconductor Memory? Introducing the Invisible Memory Series

By May 21, 2020 June 3rd, 2020 No Comments

Semiconductors are the veins of our society. They run through the heart of modern life, conducting current across nearly all electronic devices and enabling the quick, convenient connectivity that fuels today’s fast-paced world.

Semiconductors are broken into two categories, logic and memory. Based on the Von Neumann Architecture1, instruction data and program data are stored in the memory, which is still used in most of the computers created today. Semiconductor memory’s role in this process is to store data and work with the computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to execute certain functions of a computer program.

In our new series Invisible Memory, we explore where we can find semiconductor memory, both common and uncommon, and show how important they are to the functionality of the technology. Semiconductor memory plays an important role in next-generation technologies both past and present, and functions using diverse data materials.

For this series, we’re going to challenge our readers with various mind puzzles. Get your processor ready, for this week’s crossword!

Uncovering Semiconductor Memory

The need for memory is growing rapidly each year and we are seeing it integrated into more products than ever before. According to IC Insights2, growth forecasts for the memory market will continue upwards through 2023 “when total sales in this segment are expected to reach $220.5 billion.” That is even more than the video game industry which is expected “to be worth over 180 billion U.S. dollars by 2021” according to research firm Statista3.

Figure 1. Total memory IC market in global market

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They enable our smartphones, our tablets, our computers, our cameras, and our processing systems. They are central to the functionality of the technology we rely on every day. Semiconductor memory products, like HBM2E, are found and will be found in high-performance computing in supercomputers, graphic cards, and various AI-driven tasks, and allows these devices to store, transfer, and process information in the blink of an eye.

Semiconductor memory is not commonly sold in stores but can be found in many products that you purchase. Most consumer electronics such as computers, smartphones, digital cameras, and smart TVs depend on semiconductor memory.

Furthermore, they play key roles in temperature control in our refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, and even in lesser-known devices such as smart light bulb systems and smart home appliances. These smart devices have embedded controllers powered by semiconductor memory that you can program with pre-set modes and control from anywhere over Wi-Fi.

Additionally, semiconductor memory plays a vital role in social infrastructure and keep out cities running efficiently. Public transportation like trains and planes keep us on time and secure our finances with their roles in banks and ATMs. More now than ever we see the importance of semiconductor memory’s use in medical networks including hospitals and the care of the elderly, like SK hynix’s Silver Friend and Happy GPS.

Figure 2. Semiconductor Memory Application

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As you can see, semiconductor memory is an integral part of our workplaces, homes, hospitals, and public spaces. Over the past decade, SK hynix – as well as the entire memory industry – has made incredible progress in the field. SK hynix will start the mass-production of its DDR5 memory chip which will lead the industry as one of the world’s most powerful memory chips. Today, and into tomorrow, we continue to deepen our understanding of semiconductor memory, develop our capabilities, and bring innovative new products into the world. We’re looking forward to the potential of our products to continue to evolve the entire IT landscape.

At SK hynix, our goal is to make people’s lives easier and give our partners best-in-class technology. By delivering innovative, high-performance and reliable products to our customers and the expansion of the 4th industrial revolution technology, we will continue to see semiconductor memory prosper.

In this series, we will continue to look into the uses of semiconductor memory and the unfamiliar places that we find it. Our next article will focus on smart applications used at home including smart speakers, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and home fitness devices.

 

1John von Neumann, “First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC”, (1945)
2“The McClean Report, Section 6: ‘Memory Overview’”, IC Insights, Inc. (2020)
3Christina Gough, “Video game market value worldwide from 2012 to 2021”, Statista (2019)