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The world’s premier agreement chip maker credits Mii with aiding it preserve know-how leadership in the foundry phase of the international semiconductor market.

For his “leadership in building industry-foremost foundry logic procedure systems and open innovation layout platforms,” Mii is staying honored with the 2022 IEEE Frederik Philips Award. He shares the award with his colleague Cliff Hou, TSMC’s senior vice president of know-how progress and company research. The award is sponsored by Philips.

“It is my good honor to have gained this award,” Mii suggests. “I observed out there have been many superb leaders in this marketplace who have also obtained this award, these kinds of as Dr. Gordon Moore. This is also specific for me since I been given it with Cliff, who is performing the design and style element of the work. We operate with each other to make the technological innovation valuable for our shoppers.”

Daring MOVES

Rising up, Mii was intrigued in physics, astronomy, and all kinds of science-associated subjects, he claims. Like most budding engineers, he appreciated to tear things apart to see how they worked.

“By mother nature, I was intrigued in performing engineering,” he states. “Growing up in Taiwan, the ecosystem encouraged individuals to come to be experts or engineers.”

Mii earned a bachelor’s diploma in electrical engineering from Nationwide Taiwan College, and his master’s and Ph.D., also in EE, from the College of California, Los Angeles. He was hired in 1990 as a researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Investigation Center, in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. During his four many years there, he labored on IBM’s .1-micrometer CMOS technological know-how which, he claims, had equivalent proportions to the 90-nanometer technological know-how he afterwards labored on at TSMC.

Mii still left IBM to be a part of TSMC. It was, he suggests, a “big and bold transfer in quite a few people’s factors of view—going from pure research to procedure integration in the manufacturing fab. But I think that was a very good transfer for me and a very rare option. I realized how fab operators get the job done, what is in their minds, and what’s demanded to make a technology manufacturable.”

“It’s important for us to get the talent and the wisdom from the whole earth, not just from the team in Taiwan.”

Immediately after finding out the ropes as a fab integration manager, he was promoted to fab deputy director. Then, in 2011, he was moved to R&D simply because quite a few folks had remaining, he says. His time as a researcher at IBM was about to pay out off.

“Because I experienced some previous investigate knowledge, I was transferred to R&D and managed the 90-nanometer system, and then the 40-nm,” he claims.

Later on he was place in demand of the company’s advanced technological innovation growth. The job concerned defining the course of action technological innovation and main the team that would produce it for manufacturing nanotechnology-based mostly semiconductor chips. They were the smallest transistors created at the time.

Like most prime leaders, Mii attends a ton of meetings. Nevertheless, he’s however enthusiastic about diving in to assist resolve problems.

“It’s exciting when you see a big difficulty and you uncover a way to take care of it,” Mii claims. “Thanks to my group, which is rather able, I really do not require to get concerned in the specifics of problem-solving, but it is usually intriguing and fascinating to come across solutions.”

SEMICONDUCTOR Troubles

A single of Mii’s most essential troubles, he suggests, is deciding the options for every engineering that will convey the most worth to TSMC’s clients as properly as provide the alternative in a predictable schedule. That was unquestionably accurate of the future 3-nm node, which will realize success the 5-nm node just two and a 50 percent many years later on. The 3-nm node is slated to strike the industry later on this yr, and he’s already working on the 2-nm version.

“We are approaching atomic scale,” Mii suggests. “Before, we could accomplish the next-era node by wonderful-tuning the system, but now for each technology we need to come across new means in terms of transistor architecture, products, procedures, and instruments. In the earlier, it is rather much been a important optical shrink, but that’s no for a longer period a uncomplicated trick.”

Early in his career, creating a new approach know-how meant just shrinking the transistor working with greater lithography. But it requires more innovation now, he suggests.

Yet another challenge, he says, is acquiring plenty of proficient engineers.

The semiconductor shortage is still one more hurdle he has had to deal with. In his own opinion—not automatically that of TSMC—it is going to acquire two to a few a long time to bring new fabs online to solve the predicament. He partly blames the COVID-19 pandemic for disrupting the world overall economy, but the developing pervasiveness of electronics in each day everyday living is also creating a surge in semiconductor desire.

He states the industry missed signals that demand from customers was developing. Nonetheless, he says, the industry learned a lot from the problem, and he expects it will do far better in the long run.

“Right now, the marketplace is investing a remarkable sum of capital into constructing added capability to fix this chip scarcity difficulty,” Mii says. “We have a substantially clearer photograph of upcoming demand from customers currently than we had two yrs back.”

Wisdom FROM THE Environment

MII joined IEEE as a grad student at UCLA.

“As an EE pupil, it was pure to be part of IEEE,” he suggests, “because that’s the portal for persons to exchange details and learn.”

He’s nevertheless in IEEE to learn, he states: “We generally go to the conferences to trade each details with other folks and also master from new things.” These days, he acknowledges, he doesn’t have the time to go to lots of conferences, so instead he sends his engineers. After they return, he retains a debriefing session to master about improvements and what direction the sector is headed.

“Developing technological innovation by ourselves is not adequate,” Mii says. “In my leadership position, it’s significant for us to get the talent and the wisdom from the total world, not just from the workforce in Taiwan.”

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