He also says the Irish centre will play a pivotal role in the company's strategy to extend its customer base into fast-developing markets, including Europe and Asia.

In terms of doing design, certainly my strong preference is to do the minimum possible that's analog in nature and do as much as you can in digital.

Barriers in photomask production and technologies have become so challenging that International Sematech has decided to dedicate more than half of its lithography R&D budget to solving problems in mask making and reticle materials (see Jan. 29 story ).