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IBM new nanometer chip to extend cell phone battery life, speed up internet

Cell phone users would be able to use their cell phone for four days before needing a recharge once the new IBM 2 nanometer chip is integrated.

Unveiled on Thursday, the innovation is the first chip in the world with 2 nanometer (nm) nanosheet technology.

Computer chip, also called a chip, is a small piece of semiconducting material (usually silicon) on which an integrated circuit is embedded.

A typical chip is less than square inches and can contain millions of electronic components (transistors). Computers consist of many chips placed on electronic boards called printed circuit boards.

Demand for increased chip performance and energy efficiency continues to rise, especially in the era of hybrid cloud, AI, and the Internet of Things.

IBM’s new 2 nm chip technology helps advance the state-of-the-art in the semiconductor industry, addressing this growing demand. It is projected to achieve 45 percent higher performance, or 75 percent lower energy use, than today’s most advanced 7 nm node chips.

The 2nm chip features about 333 million transistors per square millimeter (MTr/mm2). For comparison, TSMC’s most advanced chips, built using its 5nm process, feature about 173 million transistors per square millimeter (MTr/mm2), while Samsung’s 5nm chips feature about 127 MTr.

A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. Increasing the number of transistors per chip can make them smaller, faster, more reliable, and more efficient.

The 2 nm design demonstrates the advanced scaling of semiconductors using IBM’s nanosheet technology. Its architecture is an industry first. Developed less than four years after IBM announced its milestone 5 nm design, this latest breakthrough will allow the 2 nm chip to fit up to 50 billion transistors on a chip the size of a fingernail.

More transistors on a chip also means processor designers have more options to infuse core-level innovations to improve capabilities for leading edge workloads like AI and cloud computing, as well as new pathways for hardware-enforced security and encryption.

“The IBM innovation reflected in this new 2 nm chip is essential to the entire semiconductor and IT industry,” said Darío Gil, SVP and Director of IBM Research. “It is the product of IBM’s approach of taking on hard tech challenges and a demonstration of how breakthroughs can result from sustained investments and a collaborative R&D ecosystem approach.”

Apart from quadrupling cell phone battery life, the 2 nm chip has the potential of slashing the carbon footprint of data centers, which account for one percent of global energy use.

Data centres that change all of their servers to 2 nm-based processors could potentially reduce that number significantly.

The invention could also drastically speed up a laptop’s functions, ranging from quicker processing in applications, to assisting in language translation more easily, to faster internet access.

It can also contribute to faster object detection and reaction time in autonomous vehicles like self-driving cars.

But it’s important to remember that IBM’s 2nm chip is largely just a proof of concept and that processors built on the 2nm node are still likely years away.

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