European alliances for 2nm processors and edge computing

July 19, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
European alliances for 2nm processors and edge computing
The European Commission has launched two Industrial Alliances, one for Processors and Semiconductor technologies and the other for Industrial Data, Edge and Cloud.

The two alliances are intended to accelerate the development of new chip designs and industrial cloud/edge computing technologies, bringing together businesses, governments, academia and users, as well as research and technology organisations.

The Industrial Alliance on processors and semiconductor technologies identifies semiconductor production capacity of 16nm process technology to 10nm to support current needs. This fits with TSMC’s reported offer to build a 16nm fab in the region, as well as Intel’s offer of a fab, possibly in Bavaria, or through the purchase of GlobalFoundries.

This is aims to more than double Europe’s share of the global production of semiconductors to 20 percent by 2030 and the Commission says the alliance will identify and address current bottlenecks, needs and dependencies across the industry and define technological roadmaps.

However the alliance also point to 5 to 2 nm process nodes and beyond to anticipate future technology needs and points to reducing power consumption in phones and data centres, even though there are no European smartphone chip design companies and few datacentre chip makers that would drive the need for 2nm process technology.

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Such projects tend to take one to two years to report, and then any additional capacity would take a minimum of 12 months to set up, and more likely two to three years. By this time the semiconductor cycle will have changed and more capacity will have come online, driving down process and impacting on the economic argument for such capacity.

As a result this will require more significant financial support from the 22 member states that have signed up to the alliance and the commission which

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