New Center Designed to Lower Computing Costs

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(photo courtesy of Purdue University) (photo courtesy of Purdue University)

The high cost of computing has led to a new collaborative center that will work to lower costs while protecting and supplying more power to make computer chips perform at higher levels. Purdue University says researchers are limited in how small main computer components can be made, but instead of placing more transistors on a single chip, companies have been trying to stack multiple chips into a single assembled unit to boost performance and keep costs low, a technique called heterogeneous integration.

The new Center for Heterogeneous Integration Research in Packaging (CHIRP), funded by the Semiconductor Research Corporation, Purdue and Binghamton University, will look to improve on how to package various chips to integrate with others. Research will be guided by CHIRP founding members, ARM, IBM, Intel, NXP Semiconductors, Samsung, and Texas Instruments.

Moore's Law, which is a prediction that the amount of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles nearly every two years, has proven steady over the past 50 years. 

"That trend cannot continue without some significant changes in thinking; integrating more transistors by area reduction is increasingly a very expensive proposition," Purdue professor and CHIRP Co-director Ganesh Subbarayan said. "With heterogeneous integration, we can achieve improved performance at low cost by integrating more chips on a package instead of achieving the same with a single chip."

SRC will provide $2.1 million to the center in the first four years, with another $2.1 million coming from Purdue, Binghamton, the State University of New York and others. 

"The Purdue-Binghamton team has a successful track record of working with the semiconductor industry," said Kwok Ng, senior director at SRC. "CHIRP will capitalize on this heritage and partner with SRC to address industry needs."

About a dozen engineering and computer science faculty members are participating in the research, which is expected to expand as SRC adds more projects in the future. 

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