Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for January 10th, 2012

New York Makes The Best Chips

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Did you know that they’re now going to be making chips in upstate New York?

Workers prep Global Foundries' newest semiconductor factory, "Fab 8" in Saratoga County, New York State. The fab comes on line for the first time with a maiden production run of microprocessors based on IBM's latest, 32nm, silicon-on-insulator chip technology. The chips will be used by manufacturers in networking, gaming and graphics.

No, we’re not talking potato chips.  Although they may make those as well, for all I know.

We’re talking advanced computer chips that will be jointly manufactured by GLOBALFOUNDRIES and IBM at the companies’ semiconductor fabs in New York’s “Tech Valley.”

The chips will be the first silicon produced at GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ newest and most advanced manufacturing facility, “Fab 8,” in Saratoga County.

The new products started life in production at IBM’s 300mm fab in East Fishkill, and the two companies expect to ramp up to volume production in the second half of this year.

The new chips will be based on IBM’s 32nm, Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) technology, which was jointly developed with GLOBALFOUNDRIES and other members of IBM’s Process Development Alliance, with early research at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

The new technology vastly improves microprocessor performance in multi-core designs and speeds the movement of graphics in gaming, networking, and other image intensive, multi-media applications.

Watson, What Are You Made Of?

The SOI process was used to build the microprocessor that powered IBM Watson, the question-answering computer that won the “Jeopardy!” quiz show in early 2011.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ new Fab 8 campus, located in the Luther Forest Technology Campus about 100 miles north of the IBM campus in East Fishkill, stands as one of the most technologically advanced wafer fabs in the world and the largest leading-edge semiconductor foundry in the United States.

When fully ramped, the total clean-room space will be approximately 300,000 square feet and will be capable of a total output of approximately 60,000 wafers per month.

Fab 8 will focus on leading-edge manufacturing at 32/28nm and below.

The companies’ 32/28nm technology uses the same “Gate First” approach to High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) that has reached volume production in GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany.

This approach to HKMG offers higher performance with a 10-20% cost saving over HKMG solutions offered by other foundries, while still providing the full entitlement of scaling from the 45/40nm node.

“IBM has helped make New York State one of the world’s premier locations for semiconductor design and manufacturing,” said Michael Cadigan, general manager, IBM Microelectronics, of the effort. “Recently, we announced that we would spend $3.6 billion researching and developing new silicon technology in New York. We bring the skills, investments and partnerships that keep New York at the forefront of advanced silicon development and manufacturing.”

Written by turbotodd

January 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Steve Stricker, Mr. Comeback

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Steve Stricker is one of my favorite golfers.  I’m not sure why.

Steve Stricker shot a 4-under, 69 to win the first PGA Tour event of the 2012 season in Kapalua, Hawaii. It was his eighth PGA Tour win since turning 40.

Maybe it’s because he’s about to be the same age as me.

Or maybe it’s his calm, cool demeanor.

Perhaps it’s just because of his sheer love of and commitment to the game of golf: He hits balls out of the side of a heated trailer near his home in Madison, Wisconsin during the winter recess.

Leading into the 2012 PGA Tour opener, the Hyundai Tournament  of Champions played Friday through Monday at the Plantations Course in Kapalua, Hawaii, I decided to watch the coverage from tee to green because it was the season opener (All the players invited had to have won a PGA event last season)

I also was just interested in seeing the beast that is either of the courses in Kapalua, but in particular the Plantation course.

Also little known to non-golf fans, Steve Stricker was having some medical issues towards the end of last season.  He’d had some tingling in his fingers and a weakened left arm, and was concerned he might have to have surgery to address the disk problems with his C6 and C7 vertebrae.  Not good news if you’re a professional golfer.

Fortunately, they didn’t have to go to that extreme, and instead Stricker was able to get the problem addressed with a cortisone shot to the neck.

Yes, you heard me right, the neck.

In any case, whatever Stricker did, it worked. Even though last year’s winner Jonathan Byrd took an early lead, by round two Stricker was in control, although not running away, with the tournament.

His drives stuck largely to the middle of the fairways, his putts fell from all distances, and his short game was like watching someone throw darts at the center target at the local pub — and hit the bullseye nearly every time. Save for some errant fairway sand falls, shots also out of which were pure Stricker mastery, the winter golf in Stricker fell away like the shedding of a snakeskin, and he left the 20-something flatbellies pitching in his wake.

Yes, Byrd stayed close on his heels, and Webb Simpson gave him a good day of competition, but it was never enough.

And considering the length of the course, 7411 yards from the tips…well, it’s just a remarkable thing for a 44-year old golfer with nerve problems to have the nerve to take on those young guns and win, and that’s precisely what Stricker did.

Congratulations, Mr. Comeback.  Well done.

If that’s any indication of how the 2012 PGA Tour is going to go, I can’t wait for the action to begin at the Sony Open this weekend in Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

Written by turbotodd

January 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

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