New 3D Chip Combines Computing, Data Storage

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New chip uses multiple nanotechnologies to reverse data bottleneck
  • 3D architecture promises to address the communication “bottleneck”
  • The architecture features interleaving layers of logic and memory

At a time when computer chips’ ability to process a glut of data is slowing, researchers, including one of Indian origin, have developed a three dimensional (3D) chip to tackle the situation.

Computers today comprise a chip for computing and another for data storage. As increased volumes of data are analysed, the limited rate at which data can be moved between the chips is creating a communication “bottleneck”.

The new prototype chip, detailed in the journal ‘Nature’, uses multiple nanotechnologies, together with a new 3D computer architecture, to reverse this trend.New 3D Chip Combines Computing, Data Storage

“The new 3D computer architecture provides dense and fine-grained integration of computing and data storage, drastically overcoming the bottleneck from moving data between chips,” said Subhasish Mitra, Professor at Stanford University.

The researchers integrated over one million resistive random-access memory (RRAM) cells, a new type of memory storage, and two million carbon nanotube transistors for processing, making a dense 3D computer architecture with interleaving layers of logic and memory.

By inserting ultra-dense wires between these layers, the 3D architecture promises to address the communication “bottleneck”.

“Logic made from carbon nanotubes can be an order of magnitude more energy-efficient compared to today’s logic made from silicon and, similarly, RRAM can be denser, faster and more energy-efficient,” added Philip Wong from Stanford.

A big advantage to the find is that the new chip is compatible with today’s silicon infrastructure, both in terms of fabrication and design.

“The technology could not only improve traditional computing, but it also opens up a whole new range of applications that we can target,” said Max Shulaker, Assistant Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

iPhone 8 Tipped to Sport 3D Front Camera, A11 SoC Production Said to Begin

 

Apple is said to be busy solving several reported yield issues it is facing with iPhone 8, including new hardware components, Touch ID improvements, OLED panel yield, and much more. Amidst all the drama, fresh reports bring news that isn’t so bad to the ears. One report claims that Apple is set to include a front camera with facial recognition, despite recent reports of technical issues in 3D camera production. The other report claims that TSMC has already begun mass producing the Apple A11 SoC on the 10nm process, the SoC set to be integrated in the new iPhone models this year.

The Investor cites a Korea Economic Daily report to claim that the iPhone 8 will have a 3D camera module in the front capable of facial recognition. These modules will be made by LG Innotek, the same company that was responsible for the iPhone 7 Plus dual camera module. “[LG Innotek’s] new facility investment worth KRW 269.7 billion ($238.50 million) that was announced on April 27 will be dedicated to Apple’s orders. The initial deal size is estimated at about 200 billion won,” the report states. KGI was the first to suggest this feature on the iPhone 8.iPhone 8 Tipped to Sport 3D Front Camera, A11 SoC Production Said to Begin

Separately, a new report from DigiTimes suggests that TSMC has started mass producing the new Apple A11 SoC. The company is set to be the sole supplier of these SoCs, without Samsung in the equation, which is expected to be included in all three new iPhone models tipped to arrive this fall.
The report confirms that TSMC faced initial yield issues, but it seems to have solved that now. “TSMC has begun 10nm chip production for Apple’s next-generation iPhone 8 series, the sources said. Production was once affected by issues involving stacking components in the backend integrated fan-out packaging process, but they have already been solved,” sources told DigiTimes.

The iPhone 8 is also expected to sport 3GB of RAM, vertical dual rear camera setup, bundled AirPods, wireless charging, waterproofing, and much more.