Joint R&D Has Its Ups And Downs


As corporate spending on research and development dwindles, enterprises are reaching out to colleges and universities to supplement their R&D. And they often are finding eager partners in those endeavors, as professors and their graduate students look for help, financial and technical, in addressing long-term research projects. “Pure research is just a luxury no one can afford anymore,... » read more

Preparing For 5G


If you like 4G LTE, you’re going to love 5G. The next-generation wireless communications technology will offer faster data transmission speeds and lower latency, providing the processing power to drive augmented-reality and virtual-reality applications for mobile devices and dedicated headsets. There is a caveat, though. The world needs to develop a consensus on what the 5G spectrum wil... » read more

Semiconductor R&D Crisis?


Research and development is a sometimes forgotten but critical element in the semiconductor industry. The delicate R&D ecosystem enables many of the key breakthroughs in the business. But there could be a troubling trend, if not a crisis, brewing on two fronts in the R&D arena. On one front, R&D costs for semiconductor technologies are escalating at each node. Higher R&D costs are not only ... » read more

Plotting IBM Micro’s Future


It’s been a wild ride for IBM’s Microelectronics Group. Neither IBM, nor the other parties involved, have made any public comments about the recent events concerning IBM Micro. Much of the drama has played out in the media. Based on those reports, here’s a rough outline of the events. Not long ago, IBM put its loss-ridden chip unit on the block to shore up the company’s bottom lin... » read more

Look Who’s Making Chips


The entry into the chip business by companies such as Apple, and possibly Google, Amazon and a handful of others, may seem like a land grab in the semiconductor world, but the reality is that system companies have always done their own semiconductor design. Only the names have changed. IBM made its own PC processors, and it still makes them for its high-end servers. HP made chips for its PCs... » read more

Why Would IBM Sell Its Semi Group?


Rumors are always just rumors until proven otherwise in business, but in the case of IBM’s semiconductor business, hints about the sale of its semiconductor business are particularly noteworthy. Much has changed since the days when IBM—as International Business Machines—went head-to-head with AT&T’s quasi-public Bell Labs and Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). The breakup of... » read more

System Bits: Aug. 27


Material that conducts and insulates It is well known to scientists that the three common phases of water – ice, liquid and vapor – can exist stably together only at a particular temperature and pressure, called the triple point. Also well known is that the solid form of many materials can have numerous phases, but it is difficult to pinpoint the temperature and pressure for the points at ... » read more

Talk, Talk And More Talk


By Ed Sperling To anyone who owns a cell phone—and there are at least several billion people who claim that distinction these days—it’s not surprising that bad reception lowers battery life. More bars, while not the most accurate gauge of a signal, are at least an indication that you can extend the time between charges even if you’re watching streaming video. But work is under way a... » read more

The Power In Errors


By David Lammers Since 1956, some of the top minds in information processing, including Claude Shannon and John von Neumann, have been pondering the problem of how to build reliable systems out of unreliable components. The communications industry embraced the challenge, and deployed error correction techniques to ensure that today’s most sensitive information is transmitted reliably over no... » read more