As the world’s leading governments prepare to meet in the UK next week, the chip supply crisis is at the top of the agenda. While the demand from customers is at the 7nm and 16/22nm nodes, the focus for new chips is 5nm and chip designers are focussing on the 3nm process node that will be in production towards the end of next year.
While we chart the tapeout of the latest ARM chips at 5nm, the EDA vendors this month were making sure the industry knows that the tools are now becoming available for 3nm. This is accelerating the delivery of IP at 3nm, which has previously lagged behind, but that is not longer viable. European designers are at the forefront of delivering the latest IP that will monitor the performance of those 3nm chips both during development and out in the field.
This month also saw the first chip nominally on a 2nm process. The development at IBM provides the densities of a 2nm chip using a new transistor structure with existing 5nm process technology. Similarly researchers at MIT and TSMC have identified bismuth as a material that can be used for the 1nm process node.
Beyond conventional silicon, the advent of quantum computing and ways to deliver this with photonic systems at room temperature is also a key area of interest.
The $500m deal to buy a UK-based developer of holographic displays for smart glasses may seem to be part of a boom, but it is part of a wider trend. Technology companies are now looking at the display technologies that will replace the mobile phone as the dominant communications technology.
The demand for technology has also impacted on many areas, not least Raspberry Pi. Ebon Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation details the drives behind the current shortages of the popular single board computer.
For the development of space systems, legislation in the UK is paving the way for launches later this year, the first country in Europe to do so.