updated 10:30 am EST, Tue January 16, 2007
HP Nanotech Chips
The research division of HP said today that it had developed what would likely be a revolution for at least some computer chips, according to Reuters. The Palo Alto-based company announced that it had found a way to increase the complexity of FPGA (Flip-Pin Grid Array) chips by as much as eight times, addressing one of the most fundamental limitations of the architecture. Instead of shrinking transistors to increase density -- as is often done with CPUs and most other chips -- the HP researchers used nanotechnology to shrink the wires in between the transistors themselves, letting the processors effectively skip three generations of Moore's Law without any other changes, says HP research director Stan Williams.
The technology could potentially revolutionize the DSP chips found in AV hardware, printers, and other devices that need dedicated media processing, giving them the power to decode higher-resolution videos or multi-channel sound with less effort; the chipmaking technique should also translate to generalized chips like CPUs, HP says. The company says real-world devices should be ready in as little as a year.