November 1st, 2012 by SAFC
Dual core and quad core are commonplace in today’s laptops, desktops and other devices, but how about a 48-core chip? No, it’s not April 1st and this is no prank. An editorial piece published October 30th in Computer World reports that Intel researchers are “working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets.”
Pretty cool stuff, and a development that will bring unimaginable power to small devices. However, don’t hold your breath – it’s likely to be up to 10 years before they hit the market, according to market researchers, although Intel’s CTO, Justin Rattner expects availability to be much sooner than 10 years.. Enric Herrero of Intel Labs Barcelona told Computer World that “the lab is working on finding new ways to use and manage many cores in mobile devices. Typically a processor with one core would do jobs one after another. With multiple cores, they can divide the work among them.”
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October 12th, 2012 by SAFC
At first glance, you’d probably say that the Fab Four have nothing at all in common with the LED. The Beatles didn’t dabble in LED during their Pepper period…that was something else entirely. But, joking aside, while the Beatles were breaking hearts and charts with their 1962 debut platter, Please Please Me, Dr. Nick Holonyak of General Electric was hard at work in a New York state lab developing “an unusual material, GaAsP, as a route to wide bandgap tunnel diodes.” The result? The light-emitting diode (LED) which, like those lovable mop-tops, has illuminated the world for 50 years.
Ringo and Paul not experimenting with LEDs
Increasingly ubiquitous, the LED makes Christmas cozy, lights our TV screens, our streets, offices and increasingly, solid state lighting in our homes. Such is the impact of the LED in the home, Ikea recently announced that by 2016 the only lighting products it will sell will be LED-based ones.
In a fascinating interview for the BBC, which can be accessed here, Professor Nick Holonyak, as he is now known, of the University of Illinois, looks back at the development of the LED. A fascinating insight. Steve Bush of Electronics Weekly, authored a more in-depth (and excellent) review of the development and impact of LED technology. Read all about that here.
Which all segues nicely with one of the rotating banners at the top of SAFC hi… LED It BE.
September 12th, 2012 by SAFC
We just had to post this. Good old garden shed physics at its finest… Brilliant!
Solid State Technology reports that a research team led by physicists at the University of Toronto has developed a simple new technique using Scotch poster tape enabling them to induce high-temperature superconductivity in a semiconductor for the first time. The method paves the way for novel new devices that could be used in quantum computing and to improve energy efficiency.
Not quite the Fast Show’s Professor Denzil Dexter’s space bat, but tool shed science springs to mind…
High-temperature superconductors conduct electrical current without heating up and losing energy at liquid nitrogen temperatures, and are currently in use for transmitting electricity with low loss and as the basic blocks for designing quantum computers. The limitations currently are that only certain compounds of iron, copper and oxygen – or cuprates – reveal high-temperature superconducting properties, and so were deemed unfit for incorporating into semiconductor designs for widespread applications.
That’s where the Scotch tape comes in…
Physicist Ken Burch of the University of Toronto explained that, typically, the junctions between semiconductors and superconductors are created through complex material growth procedures and fabricating devices with features smaller than a human hair. Cuprates, however, have a completely different structure and complex chemical make-up that rendered it impossible to incorporate with a normal semiconductor.
Burch’s team used Scotch tape and glass slides to “place high-temperature superconductors in proximity with a special type of semiconductor known as a topological insulator. Topological insulators have captured world-wide attention from scientists because they behave like semiconductors in the bulk, but are very metallic at the surface. The result was induced superconductivity in these novel semiconductors: a physics first.”
Perhaps we should bulk buy Scotch tape in advance of a possible world shortage? I hope no-one’s told 3M!
Read all about it here
September 11th, 2012 by SAFC
Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco today, Dadi Perlmutter, Intel’s chief product officer, outlined how its low-power processors, starting with the company’s 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor family available in 2013, will “set a new standard for mobile computing experiences and innovative Ultrabook™, convertible and tablet designs.”
Processors based on Intel’s new ‘Haswell’ microarchitecture promise big things, not least being faster, thinner, lighter and cooler, qualities which have obvious benefits for mobile computing. Allied to these performance enhancements, Intel, Perlmutter said, has “reduced the platform idle power of its 4th generation processors based on the ‘Haswell’ microarchitecture by more than 20 times over the 2nd generation, while delivering outstanding performance and responsiveness.” Intel also plans to add a new line of even lower-power processors based on the same microarchitecture to its roadmap starting in 2013.
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September 11th, 2012 by SAFC
SEMI reported yesterday that worldwide semiconductor manufacturing equipment billings were US$ 10.34 billion in Q2 2012, 4% lower than Q1 and 13% down on Q2 2011. Despite lower numbers globally, Taiwan and Korea showed significant increases. Semi equipment billings in Taiwan were up 83% in Q2 over Q1, and 18% year-on-year, while Korea, although down on Q1, is 19% up year-on-year.
SEMI also reported that worldwide semiconductor equipment bookings were $9.70 billion in Q2, 10 down on Q2 2011, and 4% lower than Q1 of this year.
SEMI gathers its data in collaboration with the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ) from over 100 global equipment companies that provide data on a monthly basis. You can access the full global breakdown here.