Intel co-founder Gordon Moore once predicted that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every 18 to 24 months, a prediction which has been famously dubbed Moore's Law. But according to market research firm iSuppli, the move to 18nm will signal the end of Moore's Law.
"The usable limit for semiconductor process technology will be reached when chip process geometries shrink to be smaller than 20nm, to 18nm nodes," said Len Jelinek, director and chief analyst, semiconductor manufacturing, for iSuppli. "At those nodes, the industry will start getting to the point where semiconductor manufacturing tools are too expensive to depreciate with volume production, i.e., their costs will be so high, that the value of their lifetime productivity can never justify it."
So when exactly will it happen? According to iSupply, in the year 2014. In 2007, Gordon Moore said his prediction could be upheld for at least another decade. Five years from now, one of them is going to be wrong.
Most chip manufacturers are busy readying the move to a 32nm manufacturing process, including Toshiba, which back in April of this year said it would begin mass producing 32Gb (gigabit) chips from the shrunken process by next month. But forget about 32nm - Toshiba says it has made a breakthrough in the use of strontium germanide (SrGex) that will make 16nm possible sooner than expected.
The breakthrough involves the development of a gate stack and interlayer with high carrier mobility that can be applied to metal-insulator-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MISFETs), ElectronicsWeekly.com reports. Today's MSIFETs use silicon for the channel, however the substance is reaching its design limit in terms of current handling capabilities.
Germanium presents design challenges too, namely the development of thin gate structures. According to Toshiba, it can get around these challenges by combining SrGex, a compound of strontium, and germanium, for use as an interlayer between the high-k insulating layer and the germanium channel.
The details get even geekier, but you'll have to wait for Toshiba to present the technology at the 2009 VLSI Symposia in Kyoto, Japan later this week.
Last week, the Federation of American Scientists' Secrecy News blog found a U.S. report detailing the sites and assets of the nation's nuclear power industry posted on the website of the Government Printing Office. While most of the information in the report can be found through other sources, the document is understandably considered very sensitive, Arstechnica reports.
U.S. officials maintain that no information from the accidental posting -- all 266 pages -- has compromised national security. That news comes as little consolation to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who expressed concern regarding a uranium storage facility at the department's Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
"That's of great concern. We will be looking hard and making sure physical security of those sites is sufficient to prevent eco-terrorists and others getting hold of that material," Chu said.
The leaked document is intended as part of an agreement on nuclear material inspection under the International Atomic Energy Agency's nuclear nonproliferation effort.
According to a new survey conducted by American Airlines and Hewlett-Packard, passengers are split nearly right down the middle on whether they'd prefer to fill their bellies with airline food or join the mile high WiFi club.
"We know that our business customers rely on technology to be as productive as possible while on the road," said Manuel de Oyarzabal, Director of Customer Research at American Airlines.
The survey pinged more than 1,500 frequent business travelers who take more than 20 trips a year on three or more airlines. Of them, a little more than 47 percent said WiFi was the most important airport amenity, besting their desire for food by almost 30 percentage points.
Related to the above, the survey found that not having a place to plug in and recharge a notebook ranked as the No. 1 irritant, with 24 percent indicating access to power outlets as the most important technology amenity when flying.
We like where this is going. NEC this week introduced the first USB 3.0 host controller chips for PCs and other digital gadgets, which should help accelerate the technology coming to market.
Checking in at 10X the speed of USB 2.0, NEC's µPD720200 chip ups the data transfer ante to 5Gpbs, while also maintaining full backward compatibility with previous generation USB protocols, NEC promises.
The USB Implementers Forum finalized the specifications for the USB 3.0 standard almost six months ago, which in addition to offering faster data transfer rates, will also provide more power output. That means you'll be able to recharge your MP3 player and other gizmos quicker than before.
Samples of NEC's chip will be available in June for $15 each, with production expect to hit one million units by September.
We love the excitement of being on the cutting edge, but have to also acknowledge the risks of being early adopters of hardware. In fact, there have been numerous occasions where tech enthusiasts have put their faith into the seemingly fastest or the more innovative pieces of technology, only to be burned months or years later when that tech is revealed to have to a serious design flaw or falls victim to sudden obsolescence. In this roundup, we spotlight some of the most memorable PC parts and computing gadgets that showed huge promise but just didn’t deliver in the end. Whether it was high defect rates, underperformance, or bad launch timing, these products were poised to be market leaders if not for their spectacular failure.
How could the world's fastest optical drive be a failure? Read on!
We have spent a lot of time speculating about who would be the US’s first CTO. Heck, even Intel’s CTO has chimed in on the issue. But when all the smoke cleared, Obama had chosen Aneesh Chopra, currently Virginia’s secretary of technology to fill the new and very high profile national position. Working side by side with chief information officer, Vivek Kundra, Chopra will be responsible for setting technology policy within government, and help to find ways to improve security while lowering costs.
Vivek Kundra was widely speculated to be a strong contender for the position, but so were several other Silicon Valley hopefuls. The announcement of Chopra as CTO puts to rest months of speculation, and will allow him to get down to business. As always, critics of the decision are lining up, but for the most part many respected industry leaders are coming out in favor of Obama’s decision.
According to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, “He is an excellent selection”. “He served proficiently in Virginia as Secretary of Technology and also has a strong background in the private sector advising the health care industry on technology management issues," he said in a statement. "He will bring to the position real world technology and public policy experience."
Does this mean Obama is going to hand over the Internet off switch? What do you think of the new CTO?
New legislation proposed on April 1st will give a whole new meaning to geeks who like to joke that the President has his finger on the button. If the proposed legislation comes to pass, the president will have the ability to shut down public and private networks, including internet traffic should the need arise. This power is part of a new cybersecurity emergency plan that is designed to help protect the US against attack, but also gives the government unprecedented control over our networks.
The critics of this bill however are lining up, and are voicing their concerns over how this power could be abused. According to Leslie Harris of the Center for Democracy and Technology, “This is pretty sweeping legislation. Seems the President could turn off the Internet completely or tell someone like Verizon to limit or block certain traffic. There is a lot to worry about in this bill.”
Since the bill is still in its early stages, it is unclear what amendments will be made, or if it will even be passed at all. West Virginia Democratic Senitor John Rockefeller made it clear to the media that this is the first draft of the proposal, and that they will be in close contact with internet-centric companies who obviously have a lot more at stake here than the average user.
Obama may soon have the power to nuke the real world, and World of Warcraft. Are you comfortable with this?
Many venture capitalists have drawn in their horns and are biding their time – waiting for the financial tempest to make way, but Google is unfazed. It has setup a new venture fund called Google Ventures. The group will invest up to $100 million in businesses that catch its attention. David Drummond, William Maris and Rich Miner are the people in charge of Google Ventures.
According to William Maris, an entrepreneur and investor brought in to oversee the fund, the fund will make full use of the company's links to search for startups. The fund will focus on startups in sectors like the internet, green technology and life sciences. The fund might be in its youth but it has already invested in two companies. One of them, Silver Spring Networks, develops electric grid management system and the other, Pixazza, is an internet company.
Imagine charging your iPod or cellphone just by jumping on the treadmill and getting your heart pumping faster. Sounds far fetched, but according to researchers at the School of Material Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, it's also feasible. The researchers say they can convert low-frequency vibrations, like body movements or the beating of a heart, into electricity by using zinc oxide nanowires to conduct the electricity.
"This research will have a major impact on defense technology, environmental monitoring, biomedical sciences, and even personal electronics," said lead researcher Zhong Lin Wang.
The nanowires are piezoelectric, meaning they generate electric energy when subjected to mechanical stress. They can be grown on metals, ceramics, polymers, and clothing. By developing them into production, Wang and company say they could be used by military troops to run electronic devices. Wang also pointed out the possibility of powering biosensors implanted under the skin. All it takes to generate energy is movement.
No announcement has been made on when to expect commercial development, however there's no lack of funding for the work, which includes the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation.