Feeds

Intel mad for power, but stacked-up dies keep MELTING!

Moore's Law good for 10 years easy - top Chipzilla boffin

Mobile application security vulnerability report

ERIC Moore's Law is going to be good for at least another decade, according to chip-maker Intel.

"There's always physical limits to everything," Steve Pawlowski, senior fellow and head honcho on exascale research, told The Register at the European Research and Innovation Conference in Ireland.

"But you can always come up with clever ways... for example, there’s nothing that says I can’t take two dies and stack them on top of each other so I can grow Moore’s Law in the third dimension," he added.

It's not just a potentially clever way to push Moore's Law, stacking chips is something Pawlowski is looking into right now as a way to get the world to high performance computing (HPC).

Intel has set itself the target of getting computers to be 100 times more powerful than they are today by 2018 - in other words, to achieve the exaflop computing level.

One way Pawlowski thinks Intel can do this is by improving memory data transfer.

"The biggest part of memory is getting information out of memory into the processor, moving data around. So in certain situations we’re looking at can you make memory and processor closer together by stacking them on top of each other," he said.

"The bottom line is you’re reducing the length a signal has to go from A and B and by doing that you can make it faster. By stacking on top of the CPU die you can make wider memory interface and with width and speed, you get higher bandwidth," he added.

However, stacking them up that way has an unfortunate side-effect - the power needed to pull the memory out of the chip and into the processor has had the nasty habit of melting the die in lab experiments.

Whether it eventually works that way or not, stacking is the sort of idea Pawlawski reckons is needed to achieve exascale, not new materials.

"It’s architecturally in how we build the devices that we need innovation," he said.

"Every time I hear this technology is going to run out of gas in ten years and we’re going to need something new, there’s always some new way of engineering or some new creative way to use the material that gives you a longer life."

That's why, even though he thinks new wonder material graphene is interesting, he doesn't think it's the way to go for future chips.

"I’m kind of interested in it for a number of reasons, but is it going to take over everything and be the new technology that’s going to drive us to exascale? I don’t believe it," he said. "It’s my opinion, but I think silicon is still going to be the underlying technology that’s going to take us well into the next decade."

Which is about how long Pawlowski will be drawn into forecasting that Moore's Law will last, although he will say: "I'm of the belief that if you give an engineer a problem, they'll solve it." ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
Seagate chances ARM with NAS boxes for the SOHO crowd
There's an Atom-powered offering, too
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.