Days after announcing a partnership with Samsung; International Business Machines has announced a similar deal with ARM.
The two companies will collaborate in designing and creating advanced semiconductor technologies for the next generation of mobile products. The hoped-for result is a suite of optimized physical and processor IP by ARM tuned to IBM's advanced manufacturing process down to 14 nanometers. The industry standard is currently 32 nanometers.
The ARM Cortex processor family has become the leadership platform for the majority of smartphones and many other emerging mobile devices, Michael Cadigan, general manager, IBM Microelectronics, said in a statement. We plan to continue working closely with ARM and our foundry customers to speed the momentum of ARM technology by delivering highly advanced, low-power semiconductor technology for a variety of new communications and computing devices.
ARM describes getting a chip design manufacturing process to 14 nanometers as an increasingly difficult challenge. It mentions lithography and variability as issues in achieving this goal while having to simultaneously meet performance, power and area targets across hundreds of millions of transistors. The end result, however, is a chip that provides more power, extended battery life, smooth internet access, complex multimedia and security.
IBM and ARM have been collaborating since 2008. In the past, this effort has resulted in the implementation of extensive process and physical IP refinements to system-on-a-chip density, routability, manufacturability, power consumption, and performance.
IBM has a proven track record of delivering the core research and development that is relied upon by major semiconductor vendors worldwide for their advanced semiconductor devices. Their leadership of the ISDA alliance, which features a diverse set of top-tier companies as members, is growing in importance as consolidation trends in the semiconductor manufacturing industry continue, said Simon Segars, executive vice president and general manager, ARM physical IP division, in a statement.