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IBM’s New Ultradense Chip Boasts Higher Capacity

IBM is no stranger to pioneering highly innovative breakthroughs in the world of semiconductor chips, and they’ve certainly lived up to their reputation with their latest announcement of functional ultradense computer chips. The announcement, which was made in tandem with an international team of researchers and developers in the IT industry, was made in mid-July.

Their latest announcement also underscores their recent penetration of the Hudson Valley region of the state of New York. Having made an investment of $3 billion in conjunction with SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanotech Science and Engineering, Samsung, GlobalFoundries and various other hardware manufacturers, it’s safe to say IBM’s presence is already being felt on the East Coast.

According to the announcement, IBM’s new breakthrough may enable them to manufacture chips approximately seven nanometers in width, which is half that of current chips. While the ultradense chips can only be created in a highly sophisticated laboratory setting, the team with IBM hopes to transition the process to various manufacturers. Officials with IBM are hoping to use their new chips in personal computers by the year 2018.

For comparison, the size of the average strand of human hair is 1,400 times larger than the seven-nanometer chip. A typical strand of DNA measures in at about 2.5 nanometers in diameter and red blood cells measure approximately 7,500 nanometers in diameter.

IBM hopes to use their ultradense chips to hold more than 20 billion transistors. By using silicon-germanium instead of the pure silicon that is typically used, IBM may have just turned their dreams into a reality.

Mukesh Khare, vice president with IBM semiconductor technology research, commented on the gravity of their latest breakthrough by saying: “The implications of our achievement are huge for the computer industry. By making the chips inside computers more powerful and more efficient, IBM and our partners will be able to produce the next generations of servers and storage systems for cloud computing, big data analytics, and cognitive computing.” His recent blog post went on to say: “In recent years, the chip industry has struggled to sustain a torrid pace of semiconductor innovation. We’re extending the life of the silicon semiconductor, one of the most important inventions of the 20th century.”

Apart from improving system performance and efficiency, IBM’s ultradense chip also serves to extend Moore’s law, which states that the number of transistors within a chip would double every two years. While the law has held up until now, Intel predicted that Moore’s law would become moot by the year 2018. Thanks to IBM’s recent breakthrough, we may be able to enjoy the nuance of Moore’s law for another few years.

Moreover, the announcement proves that IBM is not dropping the entirety of their semiconductor manufacturing and research initiatives, a fact that has been questioned as of late. While they will continue to focus on their latest endeavors, it’s nice to know that they are still working to keep semiconductor development alive and well in the 21st century.

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