Taxonomy recapitulates ontology

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They wouldn't say it if it wasn't true

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) made a splash in the business and technology publications this past week when it released its annual forecast for 2003-2006, which included a robust growth forecast for 2004. SIA says global sales of semiconductors in 2003 will increase by 15.8 percent to $163 billion, and continue to increase in 2004 by 19.4 percent to $194.6 billion.

John Daane, Chairman, President and CEO of Altera Corp., presented the forecast at SIA's annual award dinner and is quoted in the subsequent Press Release: “We are on an accelerated growth path and this is great news. Growth will be broad based across all markets. We are facing an inflection point in our industry where chip development costs are rapidly increasing with each new process node. We believe that this is going to result in some fundamental changes in our industry. Now, more than ever, semiconductor manufacturers are forced to closely evaluate the return on investment of each chip produced. New opportunities lie in programmable architectures such as microprocessors, microcontrollers, DSPs and programmable logic, which can be leveraged across many customers and many markets. Cost and flexibility will be the keywords going forward.”

(Not a particularly surprising technology endorsement from an FPGA guy, but heartening nonetheless.)

Meanwhile, SIA says American markets will grow 1.9 percent in 2003 and 17.7 percent in 2004, European markets should expect 17.3 percent growth in 2003 and 14.7 percent in 2004, Japanese markets will see 24.3 percent growth in 2003 and 17.9 percent in 2004, and the Asia Pacific market will grow by 18.6 percent in 2003 and 23.4 percent in 2004.

SIA also looked into its crystal ball and read out predictions for various product categories including discrete components, optoelectronics, analog, MOS logic, microprocessors, DSPs, etc. All categories apparently show promise, but none so much as the Flash memory product classification. SIA says this one's going to be the real winner - a 42.7 percent growth expected in 2003, followed by 36.4 percent growth in 2004.

Press Release Taxonomy

By way of letting off a little steam, here's an admittedly incomplete taxonomy of overused stuff that often crops up in press releases:

Comprehensive -What does “comprehensive” really mean? Could we just use the term “complete?”

Robust - This is an authentic engineering adjective that's died a thousand deaths with so much overuse in press releases.

Innovative - Who's going to crow about something that's “good, but not terribly new or creative?” Of course it's innovative, so could we just say, “This one's really hot!” or maybe, “Check this one out! It's a real rip-snorter!” - just to spice things up a little.

Value add - Considering what you're charging, let's hope you're adding value.

Industry leading - According to whom? Is this a scientifically verifiable claim?

Leading edge - Ditto.

De facto standard - Ditto, again.

Enables - How about “assists” or “makes it possible to …”

Success - Who ever advertises a failure?

Patented - Do you mean, 'Don't even think about touching it.' Or do you mean, 'We've got it and you don't.'

Solution - Could we please just call them tools or products or suites? Does everything have to be a “solution?”

Next generation - Does this mean 90 nanometers or simply, “This isn't your father's model checker.”

Accelerates delivery - How about: “It helps to get products out faster.”

Highly complex - When was the last time you saw a design, die, package, or board that wasn't highly complex?

Traction - Isn't this a term that belongs to the folks at John Deere?

Service the needs - How about the prosaic, but honest: “We're out here to help the guys who need help.” Isn't that the language of real people, people like engineers?

Synergistic - Arrrgh!

Paradigm - No comment.

Finally, the one uber-phrase that seems to have finally died on the vine:

Low hanging fruit

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