IBM's processor plans: Build your own microchip

New York (NY) - IBM has announced new processor plans, which would allow PC manufacturers and electronics makers to add application-specific features and enhancements to the chip's design. IBM chief technologist Dr. Bernard Meyerson also disclosed that the company is working on chips which would be able to reconfigure themselves.

Revealed at the Power Everywhere conference, IBM believes a customizable processor could be a new driver for innovation. "For years, individual computer chip and system suppliers have pursued their own processor architectures, using the technical merits of one or another to differentiate their products," the company said in a statement. This fact has slowed innovation and forced system designers and users to wait for innovation to take place at the discretion of the technology's owner.

A new chip design model could change the landscape by combining low cost standard processors with the ability to be modified to a certain form required. Built on an open standard, this approach would enable a wide array of system manufacturers to build exactly the chip they need for devices such as PCs, game consoles or PDAs.

Dr. Bernard Meyerson, chief technologist of the IBM Systems & Technology Group, also revealed plans of "intelligent" future Power chips from IBM. According to Meyerson, chips will be able to physically reconfigure themselves by adding accelerators or memory, for example.

Such reconfiguration could either optimize performance or power utilization for a specific application. "In the future, the chip you have may not be the chip you bought," Meyerson said.

IBM declined to comment on further details or a possible introduction date of the technology.