Intel says it will squeeze 1 trillion transistors onto a chip package by 2030

Intel Corp. researchers this weekend unveiled several technological innovations and ideas, including packaging improvements that could lead to computer chips with 10 times the power of today’s most advanced silicon.

According to the company, its latest research could lead to chips with a trillion transistors by 2030, significantly expanding the concept of Moore’s Law.

The computer chip industry has long practiced Moore’s Law, which was first coined by Intel co-founder and former chief executive Gordon E. Conceived by Moore in 1965. The rule of thumb chosen by chip makers says the number of transistors in a microchip doubles every two years as chip manufacturing technology advances. As such, we can expect new computers to increase in speed and capacity every couple of years, while paying less for them.

Moore’s Law has been proven true for decades, but in recent years chipmakers have warned that they are struggling to keep up. Earlier this year, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang became the latest in a long line of names to argue that Moore’s Law is now dead. However, Intel refuses to admit failure.

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At the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting 2022 on Sunday, Intel presented new research highlighting several processes, materials and technologies it plans to deliver chiplet-based trillion-transistor processors by 2030.

Intel has made such a promise in the past, and says it’s imperative to live up to Moore’s Law to address the world’s unsatisfied computing needs. It notes that data consumption and the advancement of artificial intelligence have resulted in the need for more computing power than ever before.

Intel’s new transistor and packaging research is focused on a few different areas, including accelerating the performance and efficiency of central processing units. It also looks at ways to close the gap between traditional, single-die processors and new chiplet-based designs.

One of the concepts it demonstrated involves drastically reducing the gaps between chiplets to improve performance, while another shows transistors that can maintain their state even after losing power. The research also includes what Intel describes as “stackable memory solutions” that help overall chip performance.

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Intel’s progress is in multiple areas. For example, its latest hybrid bonding research shows a 10-fold improvement over last year’s presentation. Its submissions include designs using new materials less than three atoms thick and a greater understanding of interface defects that impact data storage and retrieval.

The new ideas come from Intel’s Components Research and Design Enablement team, one of the company’s most important internal research organizations. Its engineers and designers are tasked with inventing and developing new materials and methods that support semiconductor manufacturers in their ongoing quest to shrink computer chip technologies to an atomic scale.

CR Group specifically created Intel’s extreme ultraviolet lithography technology, for example. This enabled it to continue reducing node sizes while increasing the performance of its semiconductors.

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The group’s operation is typically five to ten years ahead of commercially available technology, so the technologies and processes it operates today will meet the 2030 target.

“Seventy-five years after the invention of the transistor, Moore’s Law continues to drive innovation to address the world’s growing demand for computing,” said Gary Patton, vice president and general manager of the CR Group at Intel. “At IEDM 2022, Intel is showcasing the foresight and tangible research advances needed to break through current and future barriers, meet this unmet need, and keep Moore’s Law alive for years to come.”

Image: Intel

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