The clock is ticking fast, time is running, the world is growing at a faster rate.We want “speed” in everything that we do in life. This probably was the driving force for the researchers at IBM to innovate to produce high speed processors with fewer wires for communication between the chips, to shorten the distance which information needs to travel on a chip by a factor of 1000!!!
IBM has come forth with 3-D chips that will change the processor environment in the years to come. This innovation is a result of more than a decade of research at IBM. It is already using these 3–D chips in their manufacturing line. In particular IBM wants to install this technology in wireless communication, Blue Gene supercomputing chips, Power processors and high bandwidth memory applications.
This innovation is based on what is called “through silicon vias”. Using this technology different chip components can be stacked rather than placing them on a horizontal plane. The result is a compact, faster data flow rate through a sandwich of components stacked over the other.
What does it eliminate?? It eliminates the dependence on long metal wires which cause large power loss, instead relying on silicon through vias which are vertical connections incised through silicon wafers, filled with metal. The advantage is that this technology allows multiple chips to be stacked and therefore allowing greater amount of information transfer within a compact area. The production of these chips has been started in the late 2008 and further research is happening.
A similar 3-D circuit is being tested in the University of Rochester and it is functioning at a speed of 1.4 GHz. It means that tasks such as synchronisation, power distribution and signalling are functioning in three dimensions. Prof.Freedman, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rochester proudly calls it a ‘cube’ rather that a ‘chip’ and exclaims that this technology will revolutionise processors and paves way for miniaturisation of processors.
Hence, scaling the chips in horizontal direction has become obsolete and surely the 3-D systems are going to change the way our equipments work making them more efficient in terms of data sharing and power consumption, fast and compact.