“IBM said on Thursday that it had made working versions of ultradense computer chips, with roughly four times the capacity of today’s most powerful chips,” John Markoff reports for The New York Times.
“The announcement, made on behalf of an international consortium led by IBM, the giant computer company, is part of an effort to manufacture the most advanced computer chips in New York’s Hudson Valley, where IBM is investing $3 billion in a private-public partnership with New York State, GlobalFoundries, Samsung and equipment vendors,” Markoff reports. “Intel, which for decades has been the industry leader, has faced technical challenges in recent years. Moreover, technologists have begun to question whether the longstanding pace of chip improvement, known as Moore’s Law, would continue past the current 14-nanometer generation of chips.”
“Today the industry is making the commercial transition from what the industry generally describes as 14-nanometer manufacturing to 10-nanometer manufacturing,” Markoff reports. “Each generation brings roughly a 50 percent reduction in the area required by a given amount of circuitry. IBM’s new chips, though still in a research phase, suggest that semiconductor technology will continue to shrink at least through 2018.”
“The company said on Thursday that it had working samples of chips with seven-nanometer transistors… A strand of DNA is about 2.5 nanometers in diameter… The new material makes possible faster transistor switching and lower power requirements,” Markoff reports. “IBM also declined to speculate on when it might begin commercial manufacturing of this technology generation. This year, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company said that it planned to begin pilot product of seven-nanometer chips in 2017. Unlike IBM, however, it has not demonstrated working chips to meet that goal.”
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