IBM’s Strategy, Vision, and Ecosystem

G. Dan Hutcheson
G. Dan Hutcheson
The Chip Insider®


IBM’s Strategy, Vision, and Ecosystem: Eight years ago… I visited IBM at Albany NanoTech Complex, which contains the company's semiconductor research center, to answer the question of how would it work … You see, companies that shifted from an IDM to a Fab-lite strategy typically … built processes to nowhere. They went nowhere because they were essentially engines lacking a drive train to take products to market. Process R&D must be tightly connected to the foundry that ultimately manufactures the wafers… Eight years later, this has certainly proven to be the case.

So why revisit IBM Research's capability now? The quick answer is three words and 4 letters: The CHIPS Act's NSTC (National Semiconductor Technology Center). Problem is, there’s little quick about it… To be fair to everyone working hard at CHIPS for America, more than 5 of the 6 years was the Administration and Congress... However, now the focus is on funding the work instead of doing the work. Fortunately, this is not stopping the industry from doing the work.

As for readiness, the Albany NanoTech Complex is more than shovel ready: It was ready long before the CHIPS Act was conceived… led the world in the development of Gate All-Around Nanosheet transistors (GAA)… they shocked the world … with the world's first 2nm GAA chip. The research started well before this... Then… Samsung, an IBM partner, announced it had gone to 3nm production with a GAA process… That’s the 3nm chip recently featured in a TechInsight’s “Disruptive Event” blog.

Quantum Computing is another area IBM was a first mover. In the end, IBM’s quick time-to-market … has been made possible by the learning up-and-down its research stack. It’s all connected to long-run research and executable technology innovations. There’s nothing to match this in our world, which is why I come back to my earlier comment that the Albany NanoTech Complex is an ideal candidate to be the first NSTC.

"A good plan, violently executed now is better than a perfect plan tomorrow" -General George S. Patton

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