IBM continued under the leadership of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., who adopted the slogan, “THINK,” as his vision of the company culture. This culture of exploration, investigation, and innovation allowed IBM to transition and profit through four strategic technologies of electronics – electro-mechanical, vacuum tube, discrete transistor, and integrated circuit. Today IBM has over 230 Fellows engaged in R&D across a wide range of topics. One area of interest to SOC designers and manufacturers is their Silicon Integrated Nanophotonics technology for on-chip integration of ultra-compact nanophotonic circuits.
A little closer to our day-to-day are the innovations IBM has developed, with Common Platform partners GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung, and incorporated in their advanced process technologies like SOI, strained silicon, immersion, and high-k metal gate. The industry’s first high-k metal gate foundry process is being used to ship 32/28nm SOCs for market applications in smartphones, tablets, and other consumer devices. ARM, being a mere 20 years old, has collaborated with IBM and their Joint Development Partners to enable the fabless semiconductor ecosystem through Artisan advanced physical IP, CoreLink system IP, and Cortex processors to enable a scale of innovation that still impresses me.
IBM continues the heritage of thinking as it collaborates with ARM and other partners on 14nm process technology and other innovations to improve the computational performance and power efficiency of integrated circuits. The corporate culture to THINK is carried out by IBMers through their personalities as well. For example, Dr. John Cohn, IBM Fellow, is one of the technologists that are pushing the use of silicon technology to address challenges facing our global community. In addition, he is using his Mad Scientist personality in the YouTube video titled “Engineering Paradise,” to reach out to the next generation of students with the benefits of a career in engineering. Remember every company in the semiconductor ecosystem will need talented engineers that can THINK in order to compete over the next 100 years.
So pull out your smartphone, scroll through your contact list, and find the IBMer that made you THINK. Go ahead, give them a call and take them out to lunch to say, “Thanks, Big Blue!”
Ron Moore is Director of Strategic Accounts Marketing, Physical IP Division, ARM, responsible for engagements with lead customers for new product introduction and collaboration programs with foundry partners. Ron started his career in systems design of real-time embedded applications but after complaining about the gap in engineering productivity found himself leading the CAD / CAE team to improve implementation methodologies and reuse. Ron continues to explore the challenges of SOC design, advanced process technologies, and reuse of advanced physical IP to develop power efficient, high-performance SOCs.
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