Hitachi, IBM To Collaborate On 32-Nm Chip Research - InformationWeek

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Hitachi, IBM To Collaborate On 32-Nm Chip Research

The agreement marks the first time the companies have worked together on semiconductor technology.

Hitachi and IBM on Monday said they have signed a two-year agreement to collaborate on semiconductor research related to the building of 32-nanometer or smaller devices. It's the first time the two companies have agreed to work together on semiconductor technology.

Hitachi and IBM, which collaborate on computer servers and other products, said the latest agreement covers research metrology, which is the application of measurement science in the manufacturing process. Such research would focus on the calibration and quality control of measurements.

The miniaturization of transistors is a driving force today in boosting performance of microprocessors. IBM and its partners, as well as Intel, are developing next-generation 32- and 22-nm transistors and other devices for chips. Intel has been shipping 45-nm microprocessors since late last year, and rival Advanced Micro Devices plans to start shipping competitive products in the second half of this year.

Engineers from Hitachi and IBM, as well as Hitachi subsidiary Hitachi High-Technologies plan to conduct the joint research at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. and at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany, N.Y. The collaboration hopes to "improve the characterization and measurement of transistor variation -- as well as to develop a better understanding of device physics," the companies said in a joint statement.

"By combining individual research strength and intellectual property we reduce the significant costs associated with research needed to advance the next generation of chip technology," said Bernie Meyerson, VP of Strategic Alliances and chief technology officer for IBM's systems & technology group.

Eiji Takeda, VP and general manager of Hitachi's R&D group, said the company's "significant expertise in analytical instrumentation and semiconductor physics can promote industry-leading research for next generation semiconductor technology."

Despite the latest agreement, Hitachi has not joined IBM's Common Platform alliance. The group, comprised of IBM and eight partners, is working together on next-generation chip-making technology. Members include AMD, Chartered, Freescale, Infineon, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, and STMicroelectronics. Toshiba is the most recent member, joining the group in December.

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