JEDEC History

The year 1958 is generally recognized as the birth date of the integrated circuit. In Texas, Jack Kilby was demonstrating how to place circuits on a piece of germanium and interconnect them. In Silicon Valley, Robert Noyce was developing a planar process using silicon that would improve on that method.

But the year marks another important milestone in semiconductor history: In New Jersey, the Electronic Industries Association was creating the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council, now known as JEDEC.

In 1944, the Radio Manufacturers Association (which later became the Electronic Industries Association) and the National Electronic Manufacturers Association had established the Joint Electron Tube Engineering Council (JETEC), responsible for assigning and coordinating type numbers of electron tubes. As the radio industry expanded into the emerging field of electronics, various divisions of the EIA, including JETEC, began to function as semi-independent membership groups. The Council expanded its scope to include solid state devices, and by 1958 the organization was renamed the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) – one council for tubes and one for semiconductors.

JEDEC initially functioned within the engineering department of EIA. Its primary activity was to develop and assign part numbers to devices. Over the next 50 years, JEDEC’s work expanded into developing test methods and product standards that proved vital to the development of the semiconductor industry. Among the landmark standards that have come from JEDEC committees are:

  • the ESD (electrostatic discharge) symbol used worldwide on semiconductor devices
  • specifications for computer memory, ranging from dynamic RAM chips and memory modules to DDR synchronous DRAM and flash components. The standardization of these components is a key foundation upon which today’s successful PC and server industry was built.
  • development and publication of a manual of common terms and definitions for the semiconductor industry.
  • standards, publications and educational events addressing the migration to lead-free manufacturing processes. One result of this work – J-STD-020 – is one of the most popular standards in JEDEC history.

Today, JEDEC remains the technical voice of the semiconductor industry. As the industry responds to the rapidly evolving global marketplace, JEDEC continues to build consensus and develop important standards. JEDEC committees, which are made up of more than 3,000 volunteers from some 300 companies, provide industry leadership in developing standards for a broad range of technologies. Key activities today include the development of standards for flash memory and mobile memory/MCP.

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