Understanding Interactions Between Chip Architecture and Uncertainties in Semiconductor Supply and Demand

by   Ramakrishna Kanungo, et al.

Mitigating losses from supply and demand volatility in the semiconductor supply chain and market has traditionally been cast as a logistics and forecasting problem. We investigate how the architecture of a family of chips influences how it is affected by supply and demand uncertainties. We observe that semiconductor supply chains become fragile, in part, due to single demand paths, where one chip can satisfy only one demand. Chip architects can enable multiple paths to satisfy a chip demand, which improves supply chain resilience. Based on this observation, we study composition and adaptation as architectural strategies to improve resilience to volatility and also introduce a third strategy of dispersion. These strategies allow multiple paths to satisfy a given chip demand. We develop a model to analyze the impact of these architectural techniques on supply chain costs under different regimes of uncertainties and evaluate what happens when they are combined. We present several interesting and even counterintuitive observations about the product configurations and market conditions where these interventions are impactful and where they are not. In all, we show that product redesign supported by architectural changes can mitigate nearly half of the losses caused by supply and demand volatility. As far as we know, this is the first such investigation concerning chip architecture.


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