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IBM Combines Electrics, Optics On Same Chip

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 33 comments

IBM unveiled a decade-long research project that resulted in a new chip that combines electrical and optical circuits in the same package.

IBM says the technology will enable smaller, faster and more efficient processors on the path to exascale computing.

The new technology, called CMOS integrated silicon nanophotonics, was developed by IBM's Research Labs and have already achieved a 10x denser integration structure than today's chips, according to IBM. The company said that a single transceiver channel with all accompanying optical and electrical circuitry occupies about 0.5 mm2. The technology would allow single-chip transceivers with area sizes as small as 4x4 mm2, which, however, are cable of transmitting more than 1 Tb/s of data.

“Our CMOS Integrated Nanophotonics breakthrough promises unprecedented increases in silicon chip function and performance via ubiquitous low-power optical communications between racks, modules, chips or even within a single chip itself,” said Yurii Vlasov, Manager of the Silicon Nanophotonics Department at IBM Research. “The next step in this advancement is to establishing manufacturability of this process in a commercial foundry using IBM deeply scaled CMOS processes.”

The company claims that the chips can be produced on a standard CMOS processing line without the need for special tooling. There was no information if and when the technology will be put into production.

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  • 8 Hide
    KingArcher , December 3, 2010 4:41 PM
    sweet
  • 1 Hide
    g00fysmiley , December 3, 2010 4:49 PM
    0.o *twitch* can't wait for an estimated arival date for implementation :D 
  • 9 Hide
    f-14 , December 3, 2010 5:03 PM
    more moore's law?
  • -7 Hide
    K2N hater , December 3, 2010 5:21 PM
    Wonder if it's coming in a x86 flavour...
  • 1 Hide
    chickenhoagie , December 3, 2010 5:25 PM
    K2N haterWonder if it's coming in a x86 flavour...

    screw x86! just give me the 64-bit chip and let me try to max this puppy out..note, i say try.
  • 3 Hide
    bison88 , December 3, 2010 5:53 PM
    Hah, all this time my old man was right saying CPU's would eventually move to optical connects. I didn't see how it would be possible. This could be a game changer, now we just need to overcome the shrinking process and silicon issue and we should be set for the future.
  • 3 Hide
    eyemaster , December 3, 2010 5:58 PM
    greghomeProves once again, Intel and AMD aren't the leaders of the industry, IMO.IBM is still the largest IT business out there

    IBM is more in Service Delivery and Mainframes, AMD / Intel is in consumer chips. 2 different fields.
  • 2 Hide
    Parsian , December 3, 2010 6:15 PM
    Why IBM never dies? They are the leading edge of technology and innovation.
  • 1 Hide
    squallypie , December 3, 2010 6:55 PM
    This article kinda proves to me that IBM is like the godfather of Intel/AMD/Microsoft. But i hope there are other companies out there that are as technologically advanced as IBM.

    "10x denser integration structure than today's chips"

    scares me!
  • 4 Hide
    megahustler , December 3, 2010 7:10 PM
    Quote:
    scares me!

    I can assure you, that I'm completely incapable of harming a human, or through inaction cause a human to be harmed.

    I am however flexible on the terms "human" and "harm".
  • -1 Hide
    caparc , December 3, 2010 7:21 PM
    The way I read the announcement is, they don't have a clue how to mass produce this, and when the firist "product" appears, in 5-10 years nobody will be able to afford it anyway.
  • 4 Hide
    formin , December 3, 2010 9:21 PM
    optical buses within chips, thats cool!!!
    getting info from one side of the chip to the other is quite challenging with electrons and copper.

    oooo or a 5,000,000 X PCI-E slot .... droool
  • 0 Hide
    kronos_cornelius , December 3, 2010 10:10 PM
    Slowly but surely getting there.
  • 5 Hide
    schmich , December 3, 2010 10:32 PM
    chickenhoagiescrew x86! just give me the 64-bit chip

    Do you even know what x86 is?
  • -9 Hide
    chickenhoagie , December 3, 2010 11:19 PM
    schmichDo you even know what x86 is?

    32-bit chip? if were talking about the same thing here, jackass.
  • 6 Hide
    jj463rd , December 4, 2010 1:10 AM
    I.B.M. should buy out AMD and keep it as a subsidiary then Intel would really be scared and wet their panties.
  • 8 Hide
    sillysmy , December 4, 2010 2:08 AM
    chickenhoagie32-bit chip? if were talking about the same thing here, jackass.


    x86 is actually the instruction set architecture that virtually all modern AMD/Intel consumer level microprocessors are based on. x86 has nothing to do with the distinction between 32 abd 64-bit chips. What you believe to be 64-bit chips are actually still part of the x86 family of processors. x64 is just a shorthand for x86-64, the 64-bit extension of the x86 instruction set.

    Next time you decide to call someone a jackass, you should do your homework first. Especially when said person never insulted you first and called you names. It only makes you look like what you called him.
  • 5 Hide
    JamesSneed , December 4, 2010 3:09 AM
    To add to your x86 comment in response to Mr. Jackass. x86 actually started as a 16 bit instruction set as an extension to the intel 8 bit 8086 chip in 1978. chickenhoagie dont be a douche when you don't have a clue.
  • -4 Hide
    johnnyfres , December 4, 2010 3:21 AM
    IBM = Skynet! Watch Out.
  • 3 Hide
    deletemach_kernel , December 4, 2010 3:23 AM
    @ sillysmy
    I agree ...those comments really made chickenhoagie look like a well......
    especially since he didnt know what he was even talking about..

    it would really be fun if IBM bought out AMD. imagine....apple goes back to using IBM (amd) chips..... field day for amd fanboys.....wishful thinking.
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