Nonvolatile dual in-line memory modules are gaining in industry acceptance through the use of magnetoresistive random-access memories in the place of DRAMs, which usually go into dual in-line memory modules, Bob Warren writes. MRAMs use less energy, and NVDIMMs can be used in software-defined data storage, he notes.
Jason Taylor, Facebook's vice president of infrastructure, says the company is hiring IC designers and has an application-specific integrated circuit project underway. The social media giant announced that five chip-related firms -- Intel, Marvell Technology Group, Cadence Design Systems, Qualcomm and Esperanto Technologies -- are embracing Glow, an open-source deep-learning compiler that Facebook supports.
Intel said it is working with SK Telecom on 5G and internet of things use cases. Intel's Sandra Rivera said, "This includes collaborations on technologies such as mobile edge computing, 5G, and Intel True VR technology, which gives us new ways to enjoy sports."
Imec.xpand, a venture capital fund initiated by imec, the Belgian research institute, raised about $136.5 million to invest in European semiconductor startups and high-tech hardware. Applied Materials, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are among the investors in the fund.
Researchers at Japan's Hokkaido University report sandwiching a titanium dioxide film measuring 30 nanometers in thickness with a 100nm gold film and a layer of gold nanoparticles to create a photoelectrode device that boasts an energy-conversion efficiency of 85%. "Our photoelectrode successfully created a new condition in which plasmon and visible light trapped in the titanium oxide layer strongly interact, allowing light with a broad range of wavelengths to be absorbed by gold nanoparticles," says Hiroaki Misawa, lead author of the study.
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis say they created a wireless photonic sensor resonator with a whispering-gallery-mode architecture for capturing environmental data. Optical sensors are immune to electromagnetic interference, the team notes.
IC designs that have features measuring 7 or fewer nanometers are greatly increasing the number of process corners requiring checking, this analysis notes. "Process corners are, in a way, an attempt to put the bound on what comes out of the foundry -- what's the fastest something can happen, what's the slowest, what's the worst power, what's the least power?" says Joao Geada of ANSYS.
Annual revenue from microcontrollers will set new records, in dollars and units sold, from this year through 2022, while the average selling price of MCUs continues to fall, IC Insights forecasts. The market research firm predicts 2018 worldwide revenue will increase 11% from last year to $18.6 billion and grow another 9% in 2019.
Apple detailed the custom A12 processor running on its new iPhone XR, XS and XS Max, an artificial intelligence chip made with a 7-nanometer process and containing 6.9 billion transistors, fabricated by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. The Apple-designed IC features a four-core graphics processing unit that will boost the graphics capabilities of the new phones by 50%, along with a six-core CPU and an eight-core neural engine for machine learning.
Semiconductor industry executives are enthusiastic about the opportunities presented by the development of artificial intelligence microchips. "This is an era of computing which is at a scale that will dwarf the previous era, in ways that will change all of our businesses and all of our industries, and all of our lives," said John Kelly III of IBM Research.