ARM, IBM extend partnership to 14 nm

-January 18, 2011

ARM and IBM have extended a collaboration agreement that will provide a suite of optimized physical and processor IP by ARM tuned to IBM's advance manufacturing process down to 14 nm.

Through this agreement ARM and IBM will collaboratively develop design platforms aligning the manufacturing process, microprocessor, and physical IP design teams. 

"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," said Michael Cadigan, general manager of IBM Microelectronics, in a statement. Cadigan made note of wide ranging use of ARM's Cortex processors in the smartphone and mobile markets.

Meanwhile, ARM noted IBM's R&D work with other industry leaders GlobalFoundries, Freescale, Infineon, Samsung, STMicroelectronics, and Toshiba in the International Semiconductor Development Alliance (ISDA). ISDA has significant experience in high-k metal gate technologies, among other areas. IBM's manufacturing process is also tied to the Common Platform Alliance, a partnership between it, GlobalFoundries, and Samsung.

"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 VP and general manager of ARM physical IP division, in the statement. "This agreement will ensure we are able to deliver highly tuned ARM Artisan Physical IP solutions on advanced ISDA process technologies to meet the early time-to-market our customers demand."

Past collaboration between IBM and ARM on advanced geometries has been under way since 2008. The two companies noted that through previous collaboration on 32 nm and 28 nm, ARM has delivered 11 test chips that provide research structures and early silicon validation. In addition, ARM has developed specific optimizations targeting ARM processor cores including most recently a complete ARM Cortex-A9 processor core implemented on 32-nm high-k metal gate technology. 

The companies did not estimate when the 14-nm process, nor the chips made on it, would be available.

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