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IBM: MCU is dead, future rests on 3D chip stacks

Posted: 19 Dec 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MCU  cloud computing  3D stacking 

The future of cloud computing depends on 3D chip stacks and new kinds of accelerators for functions like security, as the industry faces processor shrinkage slowing down while processor integration increases, says top IBM technologist Bernie Meyerson.

In an interview with EE Times, Meyerson asserted that traditional CMOS scaling for ever-faster microprocessor designs are a thing of the past:

The clock frequencies are pretty much stopped. The era of the microprocessor itself is now over. That's not a bad thing if it means that there are a lot of other things you can do, such as tremendous 3D integration. You have to figure out how to get your data across to the processor.

Meyerson reiterated the importance of 3D packaging:

The other thing is, you'll see a lot of work on accelerated processors. FPGAs and GPUs can be used to offload tasks that work inefficiently on a microprocessor. There's a whole host of things, but they have to do with integration. There's a paradigm shift to a whole lot of things that were never especially important in the past.

To him, 3D stacking is clearly the next big thing. Instead of the continuation of Moore's law, engineers will increasingly look to a different sort of packaging. Meyerson believes that density can be achieved by combining multiple functions. "It'll look like a single chip, but it will be about 50 chips stacked one on top of the other."

Meyerson believes in the importance of solid-state devices in storage in servers. "Ultimately, we'll hopefully start to see things like storage class memory. We'll actually be able to integrate this, but it will be at the same clutch time as external storage."

Security at all levels

The other major shift Meyerson underscored was towards more integrated security on servers:

Cloud security and other elements will be dramatically upgraded. Systems don't have it on the inside. There will be elements of the server that, in and of themselves, add dramatically to the security of that system. Hackers are going to get smarter, and the systems will also have to get smarter at what you might call self-defence.

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