IBM, Hitachi team up to advance chip research

Companies hoping to reduce the costs of developing advanced chip technologies

IBM and Hitachi are expected to announce a research agreement this week in which the companies will collaborate to improve semiconductor technology, including shrinking the features on silicon chips.

Researchers from the companies will try to accelerate the miniaturization of chip circuitry by researching at the atomic level for 32-nanometer and 22-nm semiconductors. Making chip circuits smaller should allow computing devices to deliver power savings and performance gains. It will also make manufacturing more efficient, IBM said.

By combining research capabilities and intellectual property, the companies also hope to reduce the costs of developing advanced chip technologies, IBM said.

The tie-up with Hitachi is not linked to the Cell processor, which is the result of a separate development partnership between IBM, Sony and Toshiba, IBM said. Though IBM and Hitachi work together on enterprise servers and other products, this is the first time they are collaborating on semiconductor technology.

Engineers from the companies will conduct research at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, and at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering's Albany NanoTech Complex, also in New York. Though the research does not apply directly to manufacturing, it could contribute to IBM's manufacturing processes as they relate to future silicon devices, IBM said.

Financial details of the two-year agreement were not disclosed. IBM officials declined comment on when products resulting from the research would hit the market.

Chip makers such as IBM, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices are constantly upgrading their manufacturing technologies to shrink chips. Intel began switching its manufacturing process to 45-nanometer chips last year, and AMD is scheduled to make a similar move later this year. Intel recently said it hopes to shrink the features on its chips to 22-nm by 2011.

A nanometer is equal to about one billionth of a meter. In chip manufacturing, the figure refers to the smallest features etched onto the surface of the chips. As chip makers build smaller and smaller transistors, they are dealing with features that are in some cases just a few atoms thick.

IBM already has a strong profile in advancing semiconductor technology. It is developing silicon nanophotonics technology, which could replace some of the wires on a chip with pulses of light on tiny optical fibers for quicker and more power-efficient data transfers between cores on a chip. It is also working with US universities to develop carbon nanotubes, smaller transistors that could deliver better performance than current transistors.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?