IBM has announced its plans to invest $3 billion on Semiconductor research and development over the next five years. The purpose of this investment is to develop smaller chips by designing smaller transistors.
Two programs will be funded that will focus on creating smaller, more powerful chips and develop semiconductor parts out of materials besides silicon. Explaining the company’s reason for the investment, IBM Research vice president of science and technology T.C. Chen told CNET, “In the next 10 years, we believe there will be fundamentally new systems that are much more efficient at solving problems or solving problems that are unsolvable today.”
To that end, IBM is looking to develop 7-nanometer technology, a goal that is three manufacturing generations away at the industry’s current pace. As to when this might happen, Chen went on to say, “We anticipate that in order to scale to 7nm and perhaps below for the industry, we will need to have the semiconductor architectures and new manufacturing tools and techniques in place by the end of the decade. That's why it is critical for us to make the significant investment now into the research and early-stage development to demonstrate what 7nm innovations will be useful, before it can even be commercialized."