Users Boost Speed-to-Data Using Applied SmartFactory® E3 Modules Powered by kdb+

19 Jun 2019 | ,
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by Bill Pierson and Christopher Reeves

Applied Materials is the global leader in materials engineering solutions used to produce virtually every new chip and advanced display in the world. The Applied SmartFactory is the most comprehensive control and productivity suite in manufacturing. It is powered by technologies that are widely proven and deeply mature in high volume factories worldwide.


For years, the semiconductor and display industries have turned to SmartFactory E3 modules to solve complex manufacturing problems. A key challenge is the need for faster speed-to-data. To address this requirement, and to overcome today’s performance constraints, Applied Materials is now powered by kdb+, the world’s fastest time-series database from Kx. The first available module for customer use is SmartFactory Fault Detection.

Recently, at the Applied SmartFactory E3 User Group, Bill Pierson of Kx and Christopher Reeves of Applied Materials, described how SmartFactory Fault Detection with kdb+ improves several customer metrics, including speed-to-data.  Queries that once required minutes can now be completed in a matter of seconds, facilitating increased Out of Compliance (OOC) response through reduced mean time to detect (MTTD) and faster completion of daily tasks (efficiency).

Why kdb+?

Kdb+ was chosen by Applied Materials after an extensive evaluation that focused on the performance, scalability, and stability required for high volume semiconductor manufacturing. Kdb+ has a proven track record in the financial industry, in which speed and data integrity are critical for split second transactions.  For the past few years, Applied’s field service teams together with semiconductor customers have tested and validated this high-speed technology for the E3 solution. Based on a very efficient “columnar” design of the kdb+ database, E3 now enables users to perform real-time analytics on both streaming and historical time-series data at unrivaled speeds.

When is it available?

Kdb+ high speed capabilities will be made available for SmartFactory Fault Detection customers in September 2019.  Currently, the solution is used by field support teams worldwide and is up and running at customer evaluation and internal technology development sites.


Bill Pierson is VP of Semiconductors and Manufacturing at Kx, leading the growth of this vertical. He has extensive experience in the semiconductor industry including previous experience at Samsung, ASML and KLA. Bill specializes in applications, analytics and control. He lives in Austin, Texas, and when not at work can be found on the rock climbing cliffs or at his son’s soccer matches.

Chris Reeves is the Global Product Manager for SmartFactory Fault Detection. Formerly a Process Controls engineer with GlobalFoundries, he specializes in fault detection, data collection, and auxiliary signal integration. Residing in Albany, New York, Chris is a motorsports and outdoors enthusiast.