updated 01:05 pm EDT, Mon March 10, 2008
Hitachi, IBM shrink chips
Hitachi and IBM are set to announce a partnership which will result in smaller, more efficient silicon chips, according to the New York Times. While many companies are only now making the switch to 45nm technology, as with Intel in the case of its Penryn processors, Hitachi and IBM say they are working on the next step, which involves research at the atomic level to produce 32 and even 22nm semiconductors. In some cases this may make components as little as a few atoms thick, approaching the physical limits of non-quantum computing.
For the corporations, combining research and intellectual resources should cut down on the cost of developing new technologies. It is not known when the first commercial 22 and 32nm products will be released; Intel says it hopes to have its own 22nm chips by 2011, however, and IBM is already working on silicon photonics, which should replace some wires with fiber-optic connections transmitting at the speed of light.