Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘semiconductors

Apple Chips

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How about that rough stock market ride yesterday?

All I have to say about that is that it’s October (check your stock market history).

But yesterday’s steep selloff hasn’t stopped deals from happening.

TechCrunch is reporting that Apple will buy a part of Dialog Semiconductor, a chipmaker based out of unit, for $300 million in cash and a commitment of another $300 in further purchases from the company.

While Dialog is describing this as an asset transfer and licensing deal, it will be Apple’s biggest acquisition by far in terms of people: 300 people will be joining Apple as part of it, or about 16 percent of Dialog’s total workforce. From what we understand, those who are joining have already been working tightly with Apple up to now. The teams joining are based across Livorno in Italy, Swindon in England, and Nabern and Neuaubing in Germany, near Munich, where Apple already has an operation.

TechCrunch suggests this deal is part of a continued emphasis on Apple’s "putting considerable effort into building faster and more efficient chips that can help differentiate its hardware from the rest of the consumer Electronics pack….and comes at a time when many expect Apple to release a VR headset in the future."

Dialog says post the acquisition, the remaining part of the business will focus more on IoT, as well as mobile, automotive, computing and storage markets, specifically as a provider of custom and configurable mixed-signal integrated circuit chips.

Written by turbotodd

October 11, 2018 at 9:55 am

Broadcom Sweetens Qualcomm Offer

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Reuters is reporting that Broadcom Ltd. sweetened its bid to buy Qualcomm Inc. for more than $121 billion, its “best and final offer.”

If the deal were to go through, it would be the largest in tech history, writes Reuters.

Qualcomm indicated it would review the revised proposal and will have no further comment on it until the board completes its review. In November, Qualcomm had rejected the original $103 billion bid as  undervaluing the company.

Singapore-based Broadcom is known for its connectivity chips used in products ranging from mobile phones to servers and Qualcomm provides chips to mobile carrier networks to deliver broadband and data – a business that will benefit significantly due to the roll out of 5G wireless technology.

Written by turbotodd

February 5, 2018 at 9:56 am

Singapore Redux

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I mentioned in an earlier post I would share a little information about Singapore.  Much of this, I crowdsourced liberally from the Wikipedia entry on Singapore, along with some of my own observations thrown in for good measure.

First, the city-state is formally referred to as the “Republic of Singapore.” If you’ve ever flown here from the U.S., you know that it’s one of the longer plane rides one can take.

I left Austin around 8 am last Friday morning, catching connecting flights in Atlanta and then Tokyo’s Narita, with both flights lasting around close to 24 hours flight time, and arriving here early Sunday morning (around 1:30 AM).

Singapore is an island country consisting of 63 islands, and separated from Malaysia by the Straigts of Johor to the north and from Indonesia’s Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south.

The British founded modern Singapore when it obtained sovereignty over the island in 1824, and was later occupied by the Japanese in World War II. It later declared independence, uniting with other British territories to form Malaysia in 1963, then separated from Malaysia two years later.

It is known as one of the “Four Asian Tigers,” and is the world’s fourth leading financial center, with its ports being among one of the five busiest in the world.

Its economy depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods, and has the third highest per capita income in the world with slightly over 5 million citizens.

Its population is very diverse, and has four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil, and is one of the five founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations.

It’s manufacturing base includes electronics, petroleum refining, chemicals, mechanical engineering, and biomedical sciences. It also produces about 10% of the world’s foundry wafer output, making it an integral part of the globe’s semiconductor industry supply chain.

It also has majored heavily in tourism (including so-called “medical tourism”), and to attract more tourists it legalized gambling in 2005 (The IBM InterConnect conference is being held at Royal Sentosa Resorts, which has one of those casinos).

This is my second visit to Singapore (my first being in early 2010), and my impressions on both visits have been quite favorable. For a Westerner who doesn’t know Chinese, Malay or Tamil, it’s quite easy for an English speaker to find their way around.

The city-state itself reminds me of Dallas or Houston, what with its shiny, chrome and beige skyscrapers and ports surrounding parts of the island.

But it’s also very futuristic and forward-thinking, having invested early on in commercialization of the Internet and hosting a robust mobile computing infrastructure. Singapore is one of the most ubiquitous Internet penetrated of nations in the world, with over 77 percent of its citizens having online access.

And the “Intelligent Nation 15” ten-year blueprint I mentioned earlier has refined that digital capability, and in fact, the country has emerged as a vital foundry for Internet-based companies.

By way of example, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin relocated here in 2009, announcing plans to invest in “companies with strong interests in the Asian markets.”

Singapore’s National Research Foundation selected eight new incubators for its Technology Incubation Scheme earlier this year, and through that program, the NRF will co-fund up to 85 percent of total investment in each company (up to U.S. $400K).

And talk about a mobile-friendly country. I only needed walk through either Singapore’s Chinatown or “Little India” yesterday afternoon to find mobile phones from around the globe available to me (and settled on an old-school Nokia 1280 to serve as my new GSM “world phone”).

I paid $20 to a local mobile retailer catering to the Indian market, and within minutes (along with the purchase of an $18 SIM card) was up and running.

For the casual visitor, though the city itself can seem expensive compared to other industrialized countries, deals abound, including for food (the cuisine here runs the gamut, from Chinese to Malay to Japanese to India to American, etc.), and that most national of Singaporean pasttimes, shopping.

If you’re a night owl, you’ll certainly find plenty to do here, what between the casinos, the food, and yes, even the nightlife.

As for me, the rest of this week I’ll mostly be stuck in front of the camera or my laptop covering IBM InterConnect here on Sentosa Island, but I hope and expect to sneak in a few noodles or pieces of dim sum along the way.

IBM InterConnect begins first thing tomorrow, so don’t forget to tune in to our Livestream channel and to Twitter hashtag #ibminterconnect so you can keep up with all the emerging announcements and news from IBM in this important and digitally vital part of the world!

Now That’s Some Serious Spin!

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Steve Lohr with The New York Times has gone long on “big data.”

In his piece, Lohr explains how big data has gone mainstream, and using IBM’s Watson computer that beat “Jeopardy!” world champions last year as a key inflection point in its evolution, and also quoting IBM exec and technical fellow Rod Smith.

Some excerpts:

Rod Smith: “Big Data is really about new uses and new insights, not so much about the data itself.”

And on Watson: “The Watson computer from I.B.M. that beat human “Jeopardy” champions last year was a triumph of Big Data computing. In theory, Big Data could improve decision-making in fields from business to medicine, allowing decisions to be based increasingly on data and analysis rather than intuition and experience.”

I mentioned in some prior posts the upcoming Smarter Commerce Global Summit IBM will be hosting at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort (which you can learn more about and register for here).

Just out of curiosity, I went and did a query to see if any sessions would include “big data” as a featured topic, and as it turns out, there were four, including “Crunch Big Data for Digital Analytics Using Netinsight on Premises and Netezza,” and “Big Data, Big Campaigns: Using Unica Campaign Management & IBM Netezza Data Warehousing Appliances.”

So, it’s pretty clear that the era of “big data” is certainly upon us with respect to marketing as well.

***
I also wanted to highlight some news just emerging from our friends in IBM Research.

Yesterday, they announced a new breakthrough that has potential impact for semiconductor transistor manufacturing.

With the announcement, they revealed the first-ever direct mapping of the formation of a persistent spin helix in a semiconductor, an effort jointly conducted between IBM Researchers and scientists with ETH Zurich.

Until now, it was unclear whether or not electronic spins posessed the capability to preserve the encoded information long enough before rotating.

But through this new experiment, they demonstrated that synchronizing electrons extends the spin lifetime of the electron by 30 times to 1.1 nanoseconds — the same time it takes for an existing 1 GHz process to cycle.

Why do we care?

Well, today’s computing technology encodes and processes data by the electrical charge of electrons. But that technique is limiting, as the semiconductor dimensions continue to shrink to the point where the flow of electrons can no longer be controlled. Spintronics could surmount this approaching impasse by harnessing the spin of electrons instead of their charge.

This new understanding in “spintronics” not only gives scientists unprecedented control over the magnetic movements inside devices, but also opens up new possibilities for creating more energy efficient electronics.

However, this effort could get colder before it warms up and leads to massive technology transfer into the marketplace: Spintronics research takes place at very low temperatures at which electron spins interact minimally with the environment.

In the case of this particular research, IBM scientists worked at 40 Kelvin (-233 Celsius, -387 Fahrenheit)!!!

You can read the full scientific paper entitled “Direct mapping of the formation of a persistent spin helix” by M.P. Walser, C. Reichl, W. Wegscheider and G. Salis was published online in Nature Physics, DOI 10.1038/NPHYS2383 (12 August 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

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