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IBM Announces $3 Billion Research Initiative To Tackle Chip Grand Challenges

Scientists and engineers start to work on a post-silicon future

IBM today announced it is investing $3 billion over the next five years in two research programs to push the limits of chip technology needed to meet the emerging demands of cloud computing and Big Data systems. 

One program will be aimed at "˜7 nanometer and beyond' silicon technology to address the challenges threatening current semiconductor scaling techniques. The second will focus on alternative technologies for post-silicon era chips using new materials and circuit architectures, including III-V technologies, silicon photonics, carbon nanotubes, low power transistors, graphene, quantum computing, and neurosynaptic computing.

The research teams, who will focus on providing orders of magnitude improvement in system level performance and energy efficient computing, will comprise IBM scientists and engineers from Albany and Yorktown, New York; Almaden, California; and Europe. 

"Scaling to 7nm and below is a terrific challenge, calling for deep physics competencies in processing nano materials affinities and characteristics. IBM is one of a very few companies who has repeatedly demonstrated this level of science and engineering expertise," said Richard Doherty, technology research director, The Envisioneering Group. 

Beyond 7 nanometers, the challenges dramatically increase, requiring a new kind of material to power systems of the future, and new computing platforms to solve problems that are unsolvable or difficult to solve today, says the company.

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