Readers unfamiliar with the semiconductor industry might find the text daunting but the essential information is useful in...

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ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS IN PROCESS-BASED INDUSTRIES

Horev brings 20 years of experience to bear in this methodical treatment of problem solving in the semi-conductor industry, written with wider use of these analytical techniques in mind.

The processes by which silicon ingots are cut into wafers, etched and assembled into microchips are highly complex, meticulous down to microscopic detail and demanding complete cleanliness and quality-control on both macro- and microscopic levels. Horev’s manual emerges from the management of these systems, encompassing the problem solving necessary to suss out production issues on an active line where controlling time and material loss, as well as maintaining quality control and product reliability, are paramount. Such manufacturing processes are so complex that exhaustive monitoring of every parameter would require, according to Horev’s calculations, millions of monitoring sights for a single process parameter, or the allowable range of results for a certain component. But with a more realistic quantity of monitoring sites, data collection and analytical acumen, the sources of problems can be deduced. He begins by cataloging the types of process noise, or deviation from anticipated results, and how these scenarios will appear in measured fluctuations over time, as visualized in trend charts, ranging from single events to patterns of repetition that might be rooted in either human or machine defects—the wearing out of a polishing disk or incorrect maintenance by workers. He outlines the sequence of cause analysis, a continuous cycle that encompasses problem definition, problem characterization, model building and model validation. Here, the complete and useful model has three components: conditions or initial qualities; properties, or the impact that these conditions have; and behavior—how these conditions reflect on the system. While simpler models work in the description of sequential events, coincidental events might be involved in the root cause, requiring the pursuit of a number of simultaneous and interrelated conditions, effects, symptoms, etc. This is where property trees and other models are used to enumerate then eliminate paths from observed effects to possible root causes as well as the interplay between a model’s many elements. In emphasizing human factors in both the manufacturing processes and the problem-solving team, and connecting problem-solving technique in a specific environment to applications in the world at large, Horev stresses the importance of ingenuity on the part of investigators, as well as a pragmatic observance of boundaries to an investigation—the extent, for example, to which an investigation ought to usefully be pursued.

Readers unfamiliar with the semiconductor industry might find the text daunting but the essential information is useful in its application across disciplines.

Pub Date: July 14, 2008

ISBN: 978-1425139773

Page Count: 252

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2011

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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