Quantum Madness


The race is on to commercialize quantum computing for everything from autonomous vehicles to supercomputers for hire. IBM has been working on a 50-qubit computer. Intel and QuTech, its Dutch research partner, showed off a 17-qubit test chip last month. And Alphabet, Google's parent company, is developing a 20-qubit computer. These numbers sound paltry compared to the billions of transistors ... » read more

New Materials For Computing


The U.S. Department of Energy rolled out a new program to develop materials for "extreme conditions" for high-performance computing, setting the stage for much more mobile versions of AI and machine learning. This effort, if successful, has interesting implications on a number of levels. For one, the DOE's mandate includes everything from energy security to weaponry, and high-performance com... » read more

What’s After 7nm?


The rollout of 10/7nm was a long time coming, and for good reason. It's hard stuff, and chipmakers have to be ready to take a giant step forward with new processes, tools, and to deal with a slew of physical effects that no longer can be handled by just guard-banding a design. The big question is what's next, when it will happen, and how much it will cost. Preparing for the next process node... » read more

Rethinking Computing Fundamentals


New compute architectures—not just new chips—are becoming a common theme in Silicon Valley these days. The whole semiconductor industry is racing to find the fastest, cheapest, lowest-power approach to processing. The drivers of this shift are well documented. Moore's Law is slowing down, in part because it's becoming more difficult to route signals across an SoC at the latest process no... » read more

Performance To The People


Ever since the IoT became a household term, the almost universal concept was that extremely low-power, simplistic devices would rule the edge. They would collect data, send it to the cloud, and the cloud would send back useful information. That's a great marketing concept for gateways and cloud services, but it's not scalable. Consumers don't just want to know when their heartbeat is irregul... » read more

Age Of Acceleration


A shift from the fastest processors to accelerating specific functions is underway, supplanting an era of dark silicon in which one or more processor cores remain in a ready state whenever a single core's performance bogs down. In effect, the dark silicon/multi-core approach is being scrapped for many functions in favor of an accelerator-based microarchitecture that is far more granular. The... » read more

The Future Of Sports Cars


The introduction of autonomous vehicles will have a huge effect on the car market, but not for the obvious reasons—and not necessarily in the time frame that most people expect. Numerous sources say one automakers are very concerned about what kinds of vehicles people will buy once cars are autonomous. What will differentiate one car from another? And what will become of brands such as Por... » read more

The Hidden Costs Of Security


There is no argument these days among chipmakers that security needs to be implemented at every level. So why isn't it happening? The answer is more complex than companies pinching pennies, although that is certainly a factor for some chips. The reality, though, is security carries a price for every facet of semiconductor design—power, performance and area. And the impact reaches much furt... » read more

Power, Performance And Electronic Surveillance


The disclosure that smart TVs can be used as for surveillance purposes is hardly a revelation. Makers of these devices have been advertising gesture recognition features for several years. Far from being evil, TV makers were responding to market research that showed voice inputs were a good way to boost sales in a saturated digital TV market. They added cameras so buyers could wave their han... » read more

Fix Processes, Then Silos


Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, was a big proponent of what he called a "boundaryless corporation." It was a good sound bite, but it pales in comparison to former Intel CEO Andy Grove's philosophy of working out of a cubicle, just like the rest of his staff. While it's great to have corporate buy-in for breaking down silos, which are vertically integrated, the real problem for semiconductor c... » read more

← Older posts