Recent developments in chip making technology is rapidly changing the market scenario. Customization and application specific chips has put loads of pressure on the global supply chain, which was highly organized until now. For instance, machine learning and AI were considered to be distant realities but machine generated algorithms made it possible. The key now is how well chip companies can adapt to this changing world order, where modularization and flexibility are required.
Challenging physics by maintaining the Moore’s law and shrinking the transistor size is quickly coming to an end. The chip size is constantly reducing from 7nm to 5 nm and progressing towards 4 nm. As a result the semiconductor companies are finding different ways to enhance performance in positive direction. Chiplets are produced as an alternative way to complete chip design with clever new packaging and interconnect technologies. Basically, as a modern CPU typically includes the main compute engine, a memory controller, an I/O hub for connecting peripherals. The chiplet technology essentially breaks down such parts, optimize them for specific performance and integrate in Lego-block fashion.
Quantum computers are capable of solving complex problems, will require millions of quantum bits – or qubits – connected in an integrated way. An Australian research team has experimentally developed a combination of these capabilities on a silicon chip, bringing the dream of a universal quantum computer closer to reality. The new integrated design can be manufactured using well-established technology used in the existing computer industry. The researchers have published a design for a novel chip architecture that could allow quantum calculations to be performed using silicon CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) components – the basis of all modern computer chips. Possible applications include software design, machine learning, scheduling and logistical planning, financial analysis, stock market modelling, software and hardware verification, climate modelling, rapid drug design and testing, and early disease detection and prevention.
Dapra’s Rapid Innovation for Production MEMS (RIPM) concept aims to develop MEMS packaging for harsh environments. The agency is trying to foster a new government/industry partnership for MEMS design and manufacturing with RIPM, which will involve “large-scale integration”. At present, there is a new wave for MEMS – in the augmented intelligence industry especially related to audio, imaging, olfactometry and motion sensing. The aim of RIPM is to integrate a wide variety of components.
According to the Bloomberg report, in 2015, Amazon evaluated a startup, Elemental Technologies, as a potential acquisition for their streaming video service. Elemental made software for compressing massive video files and formatting them for different devices. Its technology helped stream the Olympic Games online, communicate with the International Space Station, and funnel drone footage to the Central Intelligence Agency. Amazon Web Services, AWS, hired a third-party to scrutinize Elemental’s security controls. The 3rd party discovered that the servers customers installed in AWS’ networks to handle the video compression were assembled by Super Micro Computer, a San Jose CA company that also supplied the server motherboards. Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design. Investigators reportedly determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines.