New Chip Licensing Model Introduced with ‘Intel On Demand’

Intel is shaking up the business model for computer chips, debuting Intel On Demand, a software-defined silicon (SDSi) service designed to get customers to pay to enable features built into future Xeon server processors. The move signals a major change in how computer chips are marketed and could increase flexibility in how organizations configure their infrastructure. While Intel hasn’t indicated whether SDSi will be mandatory for users buying next-gen Xeons, the concept has created some concern among IT professionals, many of whom view it as charging extra for features that are already hardwired into the silicon. Continue reading New Chip Licensing Model Introduced with ‘Intel On Demand’

Cerebras Supercomputer Calculates at 1 Exaflop per Second

Cerebras Systems has unveiled its Andromeda AI supercomputer. With 13.5 million cores, it can calculate at the rate of 1 exaflop — roughly one quintillion (1 followed by 18 zeroes) operations — per second using a 16-bit floating point format. Andromeda’s brain is built of 16 linked Cerebras CS-2 systems, AI computers that use giant Wafer-Scale Engine 2 chips. Each chip has hundreds of thousands of cores, but is more compact and powerful than servers that use standard CPUs, according to Cerebras, which is making Andromeda available for commercial and academic research. Continue reading Cerebras Supercomputer Calculates at 1 Exaflop per Second

IBM’s New Osprey Processor Advances Quantum Computing

IBM has achieved a new milestone in chips developed for quantum computing with the newly debuted 433-qubit Osprey chip. That’s more than three times the qubits of the 127-qubit Eagle chip IBM introduced last year. The company has its sights set on a more than 4,000-qubit system that it plans to unveil in 2025. Quantum computers solve problems faster and more accurately than classical computers and can find exact solutions to problems that today’s top computers can only guess at, known as the “quantum advantage.” Eventually, quantum computers are expected to contain millions of qubits. Continue reading IBM’s New Osprey Processor Advances Quantum Computing

Nvidia Offers Advanced Chip to Clear U.S. Export Control List

Nvidia becomes the first stateside chipmaker to launch a product in China that manages to clear strict U.S. export hurdles aimed at keeping high-end processors out of the territory. Computers with the new Nvidia chip, the A800, are already selling in China. Publicly traded Nvidia had been concerned the export limits could divert hundreds of millions of dollars from its bottom line. In October, U.S. regulators effectively banned shipments of advanced microchips and the equipment required to make them in order to bolster national security and thwart Chinese weaponization. Continue reading Nvidia Offers Advanced Chip to Clear U.S. Export Control List

With Revenue Down 20 Percent, Intel Plans to Reduce Costs

A sharp decline in demand for PCs is prompting Intel to reevaluate its expenditures, with reduced factory hours and staff reductions among the options under consideration. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger also says the company is considering divestitures as it seeks to cope with a 20 percent drop in Q3 revenue, to $15.3 billion, and full-year outlook downsized by $1 billion. Intel has been undergoing a reinvention of sorts as it steps into the role of foundry. Increased capex for new plant construction means surgical precision is needed to achieve a goal of $3 billion in 2023 cost cuts. Continue reading With Revenue Down 20 Percent, Intel Plans to Reduce Costs

U.S. Aims to Slow China Tech Progress with Chip Restrictions

The Biden administration is acting to limit China’s rapid military progress by banning shipments of advanced chips and the production tools needed to make them. This is in response to signs that China is using AI and supercomputing to develop hypersonic weapons and systems that may be able to crack highly encrypted messaging. The new rules, which extend to foreign companies using relevant U.S. technology, have already begun taking effect. But companies including Intel, Samsung, TSMC and SK Hynix have reportedly received limited exemptions allowing them to continue shipping to some factories there. Continue reading U.S. Aims to Slow China Tech Progress with Chip Restrictions

Intel to Restructure Chip Design and Manufacturing Divisions

Intel is fine-tuning its corporate reporting as it gears up a foundry operations that will see the longtime manufacturer and designer of its own chips extend services to third-parties. The idea is to create greater separation between its concept and creation divisions. The change comes as Intel deals with a rapidly shifting global market, where demand for chips has increased in sectors like automotive and AI data centers while the PC business that has been the company’s bedrock suffered a major decline in global shipments of nearly 20 percent in Q3. Continue reading Intel to Restructure Chip Design and Manufacturing Divisions

Samsung 5-Year Plan Speeds Advanced-Chipmaking Timeline

Samsung wants to dominate the global market for advanced semiconductors, unveiling plans to begin producing chips with a 2-nanometer spec in 2025 and launching into the even more advanced 1.4-nanometer market in 2027. The timeline takes the South Korean company beyond the 3-nanometer chip production it began in June. Samsung says it will more than triple production capacity in five years, positioning it to challenge Taiwan’s TSMC in terms of volume, and potentially surpass it in the high-end market for “smart chips.” TSMC said it will mass produce 3nm chips this year and start 2nm production by 2025. Continue reading Samsung 5-Year Plan Speeds Advanced-Chipmaking Timeline

Nvidia, Intel and ARM Publish New FP8 AI Interchange Format

Nvidia, Intel and ARM have published a draft specification for a common AI interchange format aimed at faster and more efficient system development. The proposed “8-bit floating point” standard, known as FP8, will potentially accelerate both training and operating the systems by reducing memory usage and optimizing interconnect bandwidth. The lower precision number format is a key factor in driving efficiency. Transformer networks, in particular, benefit from an 8-bit floating point precision, and having a common interchange format should facilitate interoperability advances for both hardware and software platforms. Continue reading Nvidia, Intel and ARM Publish New FP8 AI Interchange Format

Meta and Qualcomm Will Develop Next-Generation VR Chips

Meta Platforms is joining forces with Qualcomm to develop a next-generation extended reality chipset for its Meta Quest 2 and other headsets. The multi-year agreement, announced at the IFA 2022 consumer electronics show in Berlin, will focus on virtual reality and augmented reality applications. While the deal leverages Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR platforms, engineering and product teams from each company will collaborate on “core technologies to accelerate a fully realized metaverse,” Qualcomm president and CEO Cristiano Amon announced from the stage at Friday’s IFA keynote in which he was joined remotely by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Continue reading Meta and Qualcomm Will Develop Next-Generation VR Chips

Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

President Biden signed the expansive $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act into law yesterday. The legislation includes $52.7 billion in subsidies and tax credits to help strengthen U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and workforce development. In addition to revitalizing domestic manufacturing efforts, the package intends to “create good-paying American jobs, strengthen American supply chains, and accelerate the industries of the future,” explains the White House. The measure is also part of larger effort by the federal government to combat the growing influence of China, especially involving tech sectors and the potential impact to security and privacy. Continue reading Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

Congress Passes CHIPS Act to Boost Production, Research

After more than a year of wrangling, the Senate on Wednesday passed a bipartisan tech and science funding bill in a 64-33 vote. The CHIPS and Science Act commits $280 billion to be spent over five years in what is being called the largest manufacturing, research and development initiative of its kind. The largest single area of investment is $76 billion to fund domestic semiconductor production, which includes $24 billion in new tax incentives. Yesterday, the bill passed in a 243-187 House vote and now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation aims to bolster national security by making the U.S. chip independent and boosting competition against China. Continue reading Congress Passes CHIPS Act to Boost Production, Research

Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

China’s troubled Tsinghua Unigroup chip conglomerate is about to get an $800 million infusion from Taiwan’s Foxconn in the consumer electronics giant’s bid to expand its electric vehicle activity. Battery-powered cars generally require more semiconductors than those that run on gas, and analysts say Tsinghua Unigroup is attractive to Foxconn — which makes everything from iPhones to Xboxes — for its mobile chipset and memory expertise. In 2021, Foxconn secured a deal with U.S. automotive startup Fisker to jointly manufacture electric cars with automotive chips Foxconn plans to develop with Stellantis. Continue reading Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

Senate Advances $52B Bill to Combat Global Chip Shortage

The Senate moved to advance legislation that supports U.S. semiconductor manufacturing by stripping other aspects from a larger China competitiveness bill. Dubbed “CHIPS-plus,” the narrowed proposal still allocates $52 billion in subsidies for chipmakers but had a “hold-this-space” marker for the remainder of the language. The procedural motion required 51 votes to determine if this stripped-down version of the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) could proceed to a final vote even though adjustments would continue to be made before the Senate votes on the finished result. It cleared that hurdle, 64-34. Continue reading Senate Advances $52B Bill to Combat Global Chip Shortage

Replenished GPU Inventory Results in Return to MSRP Pricing

The graphics processor unit drought may be over as retailers report inventory is plentiful with prices returning to pre-scarcity norms. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti’s that were marked up to nearly double the MSRP on sites like eBay are now available for approximately their intended $2,300 price. “GPU prices continue to drop on a monthly basis,” reports Tom’s Hardware, attributing the favorable conditions in part to the cryptocurrency crash, which has “resulted in more mining firms shutting down,” selling off hardware and not competing for new units. The easing of COVID-19 supply chain bottlenecks is another mitigating factor. Continue reading Replenished GPU Inventory Results in Return to MSRP Pricing