IBM: "10 breakthroughs in 10 years"

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Two pieces of interesting news from IBM today: one current, and one a history lesson.

First, IBM announced today its “airgap” technology as

the first-ever application of a breakthrough self-assembling nanotechnology to conventional chip manufacturing, borrowing a process from nature to build the next generation computer chips. The natural pattern-creating process that forms seashells, snowflakes, and enamel on teeth has been harnessed by IBM to form trillions of holes to create insulating vacuums around the miles of nano-scale wires packed next to each other inside each computer chip.

In chips running in IBM labs using the technique, the researchers have proven that the electrical signals on the chips can flow 35 percent faster, or the chips can consume 15 percent less energy compared to the most advanced chips using conventional techniques.

The whole release is very interesting and a recommended read.

IBM’s second announcement today is a history lesson on the innovations it has brought to chip manufacturing over the past decade including the move to copper from aluminum (1997), strained silicon (2001), dual-core microprocessors (2001), 3-D chip stacking (2007), and others.