At Kodiak we have a weekly, optional meeting called Lunch & Learn, where somebody in the company talks about something they know well.
Usually the topic is related to, but not strictly a part of, Kodiak and autonomous trucking. And, usually, the format is for the session leader to play a video and add some comments. That’s a lot easier than coming up with an hour-long lecture from scratch.
This week, we learned about silicon chips, including why chips have been in short supply in automotive industry.
We watched a sequence of videos, including this video by TechAltar: “Why making chips is so hard.”
The video highlights five areas required for chips:
- Instruction Set Architecture
- Chip Design
- Equipment & Software
Of those, fabrication seems like the hardest, due to the massive capital investments required for fabrication equipment.
The whole video is great and worth a watch.
A bonus question somebody asked in our session, that is not addressed by the video: why are silicon wafers round?
Answer: silicon ingots are formed by the Czochralski method, which basically involves melting an ingot and letting it spread out from the center. This results in round wafers.