IBM to invest $3 billion in next-gen, '7nm and beyond' chips

IBM to invest $3 billion in next-gen, '7nm and beyond' chips

Summary: IBM's bet is that the next decade will feature systems---cognitive, synaptic and quantum computing to name a few---that will need new processor technologies.

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TOPICS: Hardware, IBM, Processors
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IBM said Wednesday that it will invest $3 billion to develop new semiconductors that will be 7 nanometers and smaller to enable new forms of computing.

ibm chips

The investment by Big Blue is the latest in a key area as it tries to retool into higher growth areas. The company has invested heavily in analytics, its Watson unit and businesses such as mobility and commerce.

IBM's bet is that the next decade will feature systems---cognitive, synaptic and quantum computing to name a few---that will need more than traditional silicon chips. The investment also serves as a reminder that IBM is committed to hardware even though it is unloading its low-end server business to Lenovo.

According to IBM, the first phase of the research program will revolve around developing silicon technology that can squeeze down to 7 nanometers. The second phase will look at semiconductors that move beyond silicon.

Squeezing semiconductors down from 22 nanometers to 14nm then 10nm will occur over the next decade, but getting to 7nm will require new manufacturing tools and techniques.

Here's a look at the moving parts:

  • IBM researchers and engineers in Albany and Yorktown, New York, Almaden, California, and Zurich, Switzerland will collaborate on the project

  • The company will be hiring "significantly" for research in carbon nanoelectronics, photonics, new memory technologies and quantum and cognitive computing architectures

  • IBM is hoping to combine its intellectual property in areas such as quantum computing, graphene, silicon photonics and low-power transistors to move the project along.

Topics: Hardware, IBM, Processors

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3 comments
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  • The fight has begun

    Hewlett Packard and Microsoft also recently showed their programs for new developments IT. Who the first will be in achieving it??
    luis river
    • IT fight...

      luis river > My bet would be on IBM achieving their IT goals prior to Microsoft and especially Hewlett Packard.
      DAMANgoldberg
      • Not likely. Microsoft and it's hardware partner, Intel, can outdo anything

        that IBM can do. And, it's not just Microsoft and Intel; it's all of the OEMs, including Samsung and LG and HP and Lenovo and Dell; far too many for IBM to compete against.

        IBM is very good at services, and they were once good at producing mainframes and mini-computers and PCs, but, they're outmatched in future technology when it comes to new hardware and software. IBM does have a huge inventory of IP, but, that's not going to help them when competing against the likes of Microsoft and INtel and HP and all of the other OEMs combined.
        adornoe@...