US tech giant may have way of beating chip shortage

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New research from Intel Corporation, the world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturer by revenue, has outlined several technologies that could make chips quicker and smaller over the next decade.

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Intel’s Research Components Group on Saturday unveiled a project that looks into speeding up and shrinking computing chips by stacking component parts on top of each other. The research was introduced at an international conference in San Francisco.

According to the documents, the researchers propose stacking up “tiles” or “chiplets” in three dimensions instead of making the traditional single two-dimensional piece, which could allow 10 times as many connections between stacked parts. This could boost the speed of data processing and the chips’ overall productivity, while also making them smaller.

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Another research paper showed a way of stacking transistors, which are minuscule switches that form the basic building blocks of chips. Intel researchers say the technology will make for an increase of between 30% and 50% in the number of transistors it can pack into a given area on a chip, making them much faster.

By stacking the devices directly on top of each other, we’re clearly saving area. We’re reducing interconnect lengths and really saving energy, making this not only more cost efficient, but also better performing,” the head of the research group Paul Fischer told Reuters.

The technology could also potentially help to battle the current global chip shortage, as more efficient chips may need a smaller number of components.

As it stands, however, the fast-spreading global shortage of semiconductors is expected to last well into 2022 and potentially beyond. Having affected the production of everything from household electronics to cars, the shortage will reportedly cost the global automotive industry alone $210 billion in revenue in 2021.

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