Sander Olson Blogs Day One of the 2009 International Electron Devices Meeting

Sander Olson is attending the 2009 International Electron Devices Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. Below is a summary of the first day of the conference, Dec 7.

The first day of the 2009 International Electron Devices Meeting(IEDM) began with bold prognostications regarding the future of computing and electronics. The IEDM meeting, held in Baltimore, is being attended by hundreds of engineers, researchers, and scientists attempting to discern how much longer Moore’s law can continue. A succession of papers from researchers around the world provided clear evidence that although the challenges and costs associated with scaling are continually increasing, a plethora of new devices and components being developed in various labs and Universities should continue Moore’s Law for at least the next decade. Nvidia’s John Chen gave the Keynote talk on “GPU: Trends and Future Requirements” in which he outlined the future of GPU computing. Chen noted that Nvidia’s NV1 GPU in 1995 had only a million transistors, whereas Nivida’s upcoming Fermi GPU contains 3.2 billion. Fermi contains 12 kilometers of interconnects, and the large die size and routing of the interconnects is causing yield problems for fabless companies such as Nvidia. Chen concluded by predicting that GPUs would soon contain 10 billion transistors and provide up to 200x the performance of current devices, and that the ideal for such devices was zero leakage, zero defects, and zero variation. In order to ameliorate these issues, Chen predicted that the industry will need to transition to 3-D devices.

Takao Soneya, an electronic engineering Professor at the University of Tokyo, gave a talk highlighting the progress being made in organic transistors such as OLEDs. He noted that organic transistors have fundamental advantages, including transparency, low-cost, flexibility, and thin and lightness, and that such transistors could be used for a variety of products. Flexible, bendable, and stretchable prototype displays have already been created, and with further development inexpensive, large-screen displays should become available. Organic transistors could even be used to make entire floors and walls composed of such screens. Soneya stated that the stability of molecules used for organic displays has substantially improved, and also revealed that “e-skins” embedded with nanotube gels could form the skin and faces of future robots.

The conference, which is sponsored by the Electron Devices Society of the IEEE, runs December 7-9.