GlobalFoundries Receives $1.5 Billion in First U.S. CHIPS Grant

GlobalFoundries has been selected to receive the first major grant in the Biden administration’s CHIPS and Science Act program to reinvigorate U.S. chip production. The $1.5 billion in grants will be used to construct and expand facilities in Vermont and New York. Additionally, the administration plans to make available $1.6 billion in federal loans. The grants are estimated to triple GlobalFoundries’ New York state production capacity within the next 10 years. Chipmakers including Intel, Micron Technology, Samsung Electronics and TSMC have submitted grant applications for government assistance in building new or updating existing facilities. Continue reading GlobalFoundries Receives $1.5 Billion in First U.S. CHIPS Grant

Canon Could Begin Shipping Chip Stamping Machine in 2024

Canon is gearing up to begin shipping its new nanoimprint lithography chipmaking machines, possibly this year. The equipment — which uses a stamping process Canon says will be cheaper and more energy-efficient than ASML’s light-based extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology — could be a disruptor in a market dominated by the Dutch company. Such machines, essential in manufacturing semiconductors, imprint circuitry onto silicon wafers in patterns that can be thousands of times thinner than the width of a human hair. Foundries TSMC, Samsung Semiconductor and Intel rely on ASML’s EUV machines in the manufacture of high-end chips. Continue reading Canon Could Begin Shipping Chip Stamping Machine in 2024

Canon Litho Breakthrough May Advance Global Chipmaking

Canon has made a breakthrough it says can help manufacture the world’s most advanced semiconductors. The company’s latest nanoimprint lithography (NIL) system challenges Dutch firm ASML, to date the leader in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology. ASML creates tech used in TSMC’s chips made for Apple iPhones. Canon says its FPA-1200NZ2C nanoimprint semiconductor manufacturing equipment can produce chips equivalent to a 5-nanometer process, the current state of the art, and with further improvement expects to enable circuit patterning corresponds to 2nm nodes. The new equipment is also energy efficient, Canon says. Continue reading Canon Litho Breakthrough May Advance Global Chipmaking

DeepMind and Academics Advance General Purpose Robots

“Robots are great specialists, but poor generalists,” according to Google DeepMind, which says models are typically trained for individual tasks, and changing a single variable can mean starting again from scratch. Now the London-based Alphabet subsidiary thinks it’s come up with a way to combine knowledge across robotics for a general purpose machine helper. In conjunction with 33 academic labs, Google DeepMind has pooled data from 22 different robot types to create the Open X-Embodiment dataset. Simultaneously, the group releases the RT-1-X robotics transformer (RT) model derived from RT-1. Continue reading DeepMind and Academics Advance General Purpose Robots

Intel Has Plans to Power AI with Glass Substrates for Its Chips

Intel has unveiled a new glass substrate technology that it says will “benefit our key players and foundry customers for decades to come.” The result of 10 years and $1 billion in development, the concept substitutes glass for the usual resin in which processors are embedded, enabling greater speed and the ability to accommodate the industry’s move toward packaging numerous “chiplets” into more powerful large processors, a configuration that has proven beneficial for the acceleration that drives artificial intelligence. This technology could potentially vault Intel ahead of competitors, some say. Continue reading Intel Has Plans to Power AI with Glass Substrates for Its Chips

Apple iPhones to Continue Using Qualcomm 5G Modem Chips

Qualcomm has extended its deal with Apple to supply 5G modem chips, leading to speculation that the iPhone maker is behind schedule on its plan to bring the tech in-house. Apple has designed its own phone chips since 2013, and is currently using the A16 Bionic, manufactured by TSMC. The A16 functions as the phone’s brain but doesn’t handle external communications with cell towers. Apple has been developing its own modem chips since 2018, but apparently doesn’t feel they’re ready for prime time and, understandably, doesn’t want to risk a public debacle by rushing it. Continue reading Apple iPhones to Continue Using Qualcomm 5G Modem Chips

Nvidia Announces a Wide Range of AI Initiatives at Computex

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s keynote at Computex Taipei marked the official launch of the company’s Grace Hopper Superchip, a breakthrough in accelerated processing, designed for giant-scale AI and high-performance computing applications. Huang also raised the curtain on Nvidia’s new supercomputer, the DGX GH200, which connects 256 Hopper chips into a single data-center-sized GPU with 144 terabytes of scalable shared memory to build massive AI models at the enterprise level. Google, Meta and Microsoft are among the first in line to gain access to the DGX GH200, positioned as “a blueprint for future hyperscale generative AI infrastructure.” Continue reading Nvidia Announces a Wide Range of AI Initiatives at Computex

Apple’s 5G Broadcom Extension Valued More Than $15 Billion

Despite moving a significant portion of its chip work in-house, Apple is extending its chip-supply contract with Broadcom in a deal estimated to be worth more than $15 billion with plans to run through 2026. The chip manufacturer will provide Apple with components for wireless connectivity, including 5G radio-frequency. There had been speculation that Apple planned to phase out Broadcom. Some see the deal as Apple’s capitulation to political pressure to source more U.S. manufacturing. Broadcom’s 5G-capable manufacturing hubs are located in U.S. cities including Fort Collins, Colorado, where Broadcom has a major facility. Continue reading Apple’s 5G Broadcom Extension Valued More Than $15 Billion

TSMC Seeks $15 Billion in U.S. Incentives to Build Foundries

Taiwan’s TSMC, the largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world, is seeking $15 billion in U.S. subsidies to help build two chip factories in Arizona, but is pushing back against terms that include sharing detailed information about its stateside operations and possibly profits. Some South Korean semiconductor firms are also said to have raised objections. The White House contends the criteria are in place to protect American taxpayers and ensure the subsidies are being spent as intended. TSMC has pledged $40 billion of its own funds for the project. Continue reading TSMC Seeks $15 Billion in U.S. Incentives to Build Foundries

U.S. Agencies Join Global Coalition in Secure Software Push

The U.S. and a coalition of international government agencies have issued joint guidance that aims to get software companies to heighten security for their products. “Shifting the Balance of Cybersecurity Risk: Principles and Approaches for Security-by-Design and -Default” takes the position that today’s software is insecure by default and it is the customer’s burden to take steps to make it safe. Manufacturers should make their products safe before they ship by taking steps including deprecating the “default password,” writing their programs using only secure coding languages, providing free patches and setting up vulnerability reporting programs. Continue reading U.S. Agencies Join Global Coalition in Secure Software Push

Japan, U.S., Netherlands Seek to Limit China’s Chip Industry

Japan decided last week to join the U.S. and Netherlands in limiting exports of chipmaking gear to China. As early as July, suppliers of 23 types of chip technology will need a government sign-off to export to countries including China, which has been struggling to build a domestic chip industry. Japanese companies impacted by the restrictions include Tokyo Electron, Lasertec, Nikon Corp. and Screen Holdings, according to the Japanese trade ministry. The central goal of the clampdown is to make it harder for Chinese firms to produce advanced chips for artificial intelligence. Continue reading Japan, U.S., Netherlands Seek to Limit China’s Chip Industry

U.S. Plans to Create Manufacturing Clusters with CHIPS Act

The U.S. plan to expand its national chip industry includes adding a minimum of two manufacturing clusters for advanced semiconductors by 2030. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo explained Thursday that the goal is to create chip ecosystems that group together fabrication plants, assembly plants, research-and-development labs and the suppliers to support each phase of operation. The vision is to make the U.S. “the only country in the world where every company capable of producing leading edge chips will have a significant R&D and high-volume manufacturing presence,” Raimondo said. Continue reading U.S. Plans to Create Manufacturing Clusters with CHIPS Act

Biden Challenges Big Tech, Calls for Children’s Online Safety

President Biden’s second State of the Union speech Tuesday night included calls for stronger consumer privacy protections and tougher antitrust laws in direct challenge to what many perceive as the unchecked power of Big Tech. “Pass bipartisan legislation to strengthen antitrust enforcement and prevent big online platforms from giving their own products an unfair advantage,” Biden stated, urging Congress to “stop Big Tech from collecting personal data on kids and teenagers online, ban targeted advertising to children, and impose stricter limits on the personal data these companies collect on all of us.” Continue reading Biden Challenges Big Tech, Calls for Children’s Online Safety

IBM Teams Up with Rapidus Foundry on Chip Manufacturing

Japan, once the world’s top producer of computer chips, is seeking to regain its foothold in the manufacture of leading-edge semiconductors. Last month, a consortium of eight Japanese companies formed Rapidus, a foundry the Japanese government hopes will help get the nation on track for advanced chip manufacturing. IBM Research is joining forces with Rapidus, with plans to manufacture IBM’s 2nm technology in fabs that Rapidus is building in Japan, with output expected to commence in the latter half of the decade. Continue reading IBM Teams Up with Rapidus Foundry on Chip Manufacturing

Apple Fast-Tracks Plan to Move Some Production from China

The protests and riots in response to China’s restrictive COVID-19 policies have resulted in Apple accelerating plans to relocate a chunk of production in that country, according to news reports claiming that “turmoil” in a Zhengzhou area called iPhone City helped prompt the change. At peak output, the zone produced roughly 85 percent of the iPhone Pro lineup, according to The Wall Street Journal, which says the factory “was convulsed in late November by violent protests.” China has long been the primary manufacturing location for Apple products. Vietnam and India are reportedly high on Apple’s list of alternate sites. Continue reading Apple Fast-Tracks Plan to Move Some Production from China