Dhaka, July 11 (UNB) - IBM
announced today that it is re-committing itself to the computer landscape, as
the company intends to spend $3 billion on research into future chip
technologies. Over the next five years, IBM will invest in two "broad
research and early stage development programs" in search of an innovation
in the field. The shift in strategy comes at a time when the company was
rumored to sell off its chip manufacturing business.
The first program will look at reaching the "seven
nanometer and beyond" level of silicon technology. By researching
different methods to work around the physical limitations of future silicon
chip developments, IBM hopes to be ahead of the game. The current road
semiconductors are on will scale down from 22 nanometers to 14 and then down to
10 within the next several years. Scaling down any further will require the
discovery of new technologies, which will require a great deal of money and
architecture innovations before they can be manufactured.
"The question is not if we will introduce seven
nanometer technology into manufacturing, but rather how, when, and at what cost?"
said Senior Vice President of IBM Research John Kelly "IBM engineers and
scientists, along with our partners, are well suited for this challenge and are
already working on the materials science and device engineering required to
meet the demands of the emerging system requirements for cloud, big data, and
cognitive systems. This new investment will ensure that we produce the necessary
innovations to meet these challenges."
The other path of technology research IBM will invest in
looks to solve a problem that is currently faced with silicon-based
semiconductors. As silicon is a limiting factor in the increasing power of
processing capabilities, IBM will look into new areas and technologies to move
past the seven nanometer goal. Such technologies for the post-silicon era that
IBM intends to research include graphene, carbon nanotubes, quantum computing, neurosynaptic
computing, silicon photonics, III-V technologies and "next generation
lower power transistors" like tunnel field effect transistors.
IBM said that part of the pressure to develop new
technologies comes from the rapid expansion into cloud and big data. Chips used
in the applications are facing physical scaling limitations, as users looking
to maximize bandwidth and electricity consumption are faced problems on how far
the current technology can be pushed.
Researchers and engineers for IBM on the new projects will
be based in California, New
York and Europe. The company
plans to invest heavily into emerging research areas that are already underway.
IBM emphasized that it wouldn't be stepping away from the areas of fundamental
science, as it will still invest in nanosciences and quantum computing.
The announcement to look into the future of computing
technologies follows previous news from the company earlier in the year. IBM
showed off a replacement for NAND flash in May, a technology that would combine
NAND and DRAM on a single controller called the Theseus Project.