IEEE Awards Booklet - 2020 - 17

2020 IEEE MEDAL OF HONOR

IEEE Medal of Honor
Sponsored by the IEEE Foundation

Chenming Hu

For a distinguished career of developing and putting into practice semiconductor
models, particularly 3-D device structures, that have helped keep Moore's Law going
over many decades

C

henming Hu's pioneering achievements regarding transistor models and novel transistor structures have enabled
the continued scaling of semiconductor devices that
enable production of the smaller yet more-powerful and costeffective computers and electronic devices proliferating society
today. In the mid-1990s it became clear that two-dimensional,
planar metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) could not deliver continued performance improvements
as dimensions were scaled down due to current leakage in short
channel length transistors.This slowed channel length scaling and
threatened to end the continuation of Moore's Law. Moore's Law
is the concept that the number of transistors in compact integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years, enabling the
personal electronics we continue to take for granted.To overcome
this anticipated roadblock in scaling, Hu led the development of
a revolutionary three-dimensional transistor structure known as
the fin field-effect transistor (FinFET), named so because its thin
vertical fin shape resembles a shark's dorsal fin. By reducing the
thickness of the fin, etched out of the surface of a silicon wafer,
the transistor channel length can continue to be scaled proportionally. Intel began using the FinFET for mass production of
computer processors in 2011 and called it "the most radical shift
in semiconductor technology in 50 years." Hu's FinFET innovation enabled the 22-, 16-, 14-, 10-, 7- and 5-nm technology
nodes, which were unthinkable not long ago.Today practically all
high-end computers, smart phones, and communications devices
use FinFET technology, and it may add decades to furthering the
state of the art in electronics evolution.Also important to the continued advancement of semiconductor technology has been Hu's

contributions to device modeling. In 1996, Hu's breakthrough
BSIM (Berkeley Simulation) transistor model was chosen as the
first industry standard for linking the transistors/manufacturing
and circuits/computer-aided-design aspects of semiconductor
technology. BSIM models use original mathematical formulas
based on transistor physics research. BSIM replaced dozens of inhouse models because it's extremely accurate and highly computationally efficient. It can be used to simulate circuits containing
hundred millions of transistors. BSIM also enables higher-level
computer-aided integrated design tools to achieve first-silicon
success without redesign. Hu has provided all the BSIM series of
standard models to the semiconductor industry royalty free, and
most integrated circuits created after 1996 have been designed
using BSIM models. Hu and his students continue to develop
new BSIM models today. Hu also made pioneering contributions
to IC reliability modeling and design. His Berkeley Reliability
Tool (BERT) allowed engineers for the first time to design for
reliability so that manufacturers and IC design companies can
be confident that what they produce will not fail in the field.
The descendants of his original models are now embedded in
integrated circuit design simulator tools, which has been integral
to producing smaller yet more reliable and higher-performance
integrated circuits.
An IEEE Life Fellow and recipient of the 2014 U.S. National
Technology and Innovation Medal, Hu is the TSMC Distinguished Professor Emeritus with the Department of Electrical
Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Scope: For an exceptional contribution or an extraordinary career in IEEE fields of interest.
17 | 2020 IEEE AWARDS BOOKLET



IEEE Awards Booklet - 2020

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