For the vice president of IBM Research, it is not fair to compare the future chips of Big Blue with those of Apple and to boast an ideal situation to work in the semiconductor industry.
Earlier this month, IBM announced what has been called a breakthrough in semiconductor design and process - the development of a chip etched in 2 nanometers. According to the American giant, this processor engraved in 2nm will improve performance by 45% using the same amount of energy or use 75% less energy compared to chips based on 7nm technology. The test chip can contain 50 billion transistors on a chip the size of a fingernail.
The 2nm technology will go into production towards the end of 2024. Massive use could occur around 2025. “2nm is very exciting,” said Mukesh Khare, vice president of IBM Research, in an interview with Asia-Pacific media on Friday. “Everything is built with atomic precision. It's exciting because most of the advanced fabrications in the world are around 7nm and some are at 5nm, and we're here to show that we could put together a 2nm transistor. This means that this industry will continue to operate for the next decade. "
However, there is no question of comparing IBM's advances and Apple's M1 chip. For the latter, it would be like "comparing apples and oranges, because the M1 chip is a product using existing technology, older technology," he told ZDNet. “What we're talking about is a breakthrough (...) that will be available in three or four years, so I don't think it's fair to compare something that is built on the basis of innovations that have been made there four-five years ago. "
IBM, a pioneer in this field
IBM was the first to announce the 7 "nm technology in" 2015, then 5 "nm in" 2017. "And now we are announcing the 2 nm technology in 2021, so there is a time difference, and there is no is not fair to compare something that was innovated several years ago with something that is innovated now. When news of this leap in miniaturization first broke, IBM's work was described by some as "a sign of America's continued prowess in the technology race."
“The 'I' of IBM is 'International', we are an international company, and we are very proud to be able to develop this technology ... many of our partners are from all over the world, the chain of procurement is international, and we welcome any participation in the success of this technology, ”argues Mukesh Khare. As the chip shortage induced by the health crisis continues to weigh on supply chains and affect industries around the world, the latter argues that now is the perfect time to get involved in the semiconductor industry conductors.
“These innovations take time to actually be converted into products and what it does - the semiconductor industry takes many years to innovate this technology and then convert it into manufacturing - what it does is this. Gives confidence to companies that invest in semiconductors that this industry will thrive for more than 10 years, for decades, so it gives more confidence to invest more,”he explains.
Towards the infinitely small and beyond
CEO believes news of 2nm chip gives clear roadmap for companies to have access to 'know-how' for years to come, indicating they can continue to invest and build capacity scanning and chip creation. “There is no end to Moore's Law and there is no wall that we cannot cross with this technology,” he said.
When asked whether it was possible to have a smaller semiconductor, Mukesh Khare replied in the affirmative. “Smaller than 2 nm? Yes, absolutely, it's happening, ”he adds. “We're not going to stop and there is so much innovation and so much energy in semiconductor R&D - this train, it keeps going and getting better and better. "