IBM plans to shell out $3 billion over the next five years as the computing giant looks to push the limits of its silicon. Specifically, it will use the money to fund research and early-stage development programs in cloud computing and big data systems.
The money is being split between two research programs: the first aimed at scaling its chips down to tiny 7nm technology, something it says it can do but has yet to figure out how, when, and at what cost; and the second on developing alternative chip technologies to silicon, which eventually won't be able to physically meet the needs of evolving cloud and big data applications.
IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is looking to build lower-power, higher-speed chips to stay relevant in a quickly evolving market. Aiding its research is the fact that it holds 500 patents for technologies around 7nm silicon, but it's also racing to out-innovate chipmakers like Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) (NYSE: TSM).
It says its IBM Research scientists and engineers from Albany and Yorktown, N.Y.; Almaden, Calif.; and Europe will be taking on emerging areas of research on silicon alternatives in carbon nanoelectronics, silicon photonics, new memory technologies, and architectures that support quantum and cognitive computing. You can find a lot more detail on its ambitious plans in its release, along with an infographic on the challenge.
This investment comes amidst rumors that IBM is looking to sell its chip manufacturing business to GlobalFoundries Inc. Shares of the company were down 1.61 points, or 0.85%, to $186.81 on Thursday morning after the investment was announced.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading