IBM yesterday unveiled their new prototype chip touted to be the next step in the evolution ladder of computer chips. The company said they have made a breakthrough in the technology for making even more tiny transistors (the electrical switched that make up a processor). The new chip has transistor so small that they are 1/10,000th the width of a human hair.
This new chip is the result of a research breakthrough made by the IBM and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute in Albany. This new technology allows as many as 20 billion tiny transistors to be fitted on a chip with the same size as a fingernail. It is also half the size of the current 14-nanometer standard chips.
According to IBM, despite the fact that the technology is still a prototype, it could have a great impact “on the anticipated demands of future cloud computing and Big Data systems, cognitive computing, mobile products and other emerging technologies.”
This chip came about after a $3 billion investment made in research by IBM, Samsung and the state of New York among other technology suppliers. The current generations of computer chips have microprocessors that are between 14 to 22 nanometers in size. The new IBM chip is much smaller than this, but with 50 percent more processing power. The IBM-led research focused on overcoming the hurdles presented by the physical limitation of the existing materials and making a silicon-germanium transistor that boost processing power.