Our New Frontier

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Our New Frontier

By Rick Wallace, president and CEO, KLA-Tencor; chairman, SEMI Board of Directors

Not that long ago, many of us wouldn’t have fathomed the technology that is now crucial to our everyday lives. As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, the world continues to undergo a technological transformation as significant as the Industrial Revolution. Today’s technology is enabling a whole new frontier of productivity and connectivity—breaking down barriers both in the workplace and at home in a way we never thought possible. It’s allowed us to be more nimble and more responsive. It has brought us closer together across the globe. At a pace that’s evolving ever so rapidly, technology has changed us forever and the end of the technological revolution is nowhere in sight.


In a competitive landscape dominated by form factors, app stores, and operating systems, the glory days of the processor wars—when silicon innovation drove each wave of new technology—would appear to be ancient history. Nothing could be further from the truth. Semiconductor technology is very much at the heart of today’s revolution. Daily, we chart new territory in our collective quest to innovate and push the limits of Moore’s Law, enabling next generation semiconductors that will power tomorrow’s life-changing technology.


And with great progress comes great change. Today, our industry is at a critical inflection point—facing accelerated required technology investment and the need for increased innovation. Innovation will take many forms, including our traditional technology innovation, but also innovations in how the industry works together to solve the economic challenges that face us all. SEMI also is in need of ongoing innovation in order to transition to the future. Over the next year, SEMI must develop and begin to execute on a strategy, which will allow the organization to assist the industry in facing the challenges of tomorrow.

As an organization, we must look at our current approach and devise a clear-cut strategy for change that involves careful thought, collaboration with customers and peers, and courage to act upon our convictions. We must remain focused on the future while learning from the lessons of our past and not losing sight of our passion to innovate.

Over the years, SEMI has helped to advance the industry’s collective agenda on important matters such as strengthening IP enforcement, developing globally accepted technical standards, addressing environmental sustainability, and advocating for the industry on many important public policy issues. Our new strategy cannot abandon the progress we’ve already made in these areas, but instead it must renew our focus and commitment so as to constantly improve our industry.

I want to thank Stan Myers and the members of SEMI for the opportunity to be part of this organization at this critical time. I look forward to working with the SEMI Board and global membership to drive innovation, transition and change.

August 3, 2010