A chat with the wizard of the extremely small

For those of you who attended CES earlier this month or simply followed the news from that event, you may have heard below the noise of streaming TV boxes and Intel Readers a fairly major announcement from Intel…the release of our first 32nm products (27 of them, aimed at the desktop and mobile market segments). While this tick tock thing is getting so finely tuned it almost becomes an expectation, I wanted to take a step back and once again celebrate that delivering this “first in the world” technology, if you get down to it, seems a bit like high tech wizardry. After all, 32nm (for those who aren’t working in these small sizes all the time) represents about 200 atoms in width, and about 60 million transistors of this type fit on the head of a pin. I wanted to learn more about this wizardry so went to speak to Mr. Wizard himself, Mark Bohr, Intel’s Senior Fellow in charge of ensuring that Intel continues to deliver upon the tick tock model. Mark talked about the challenges of continued delivery of ever smaller designs and unveiled a bit about the hard core science that goes on behind all of this magic. He briefly looked forward to his organization’s current challenge, 22nm, and gave a look back to the major breakthrough his team made to deliver high K metal gates at 45nm. Mark got pretty excited when asked about 45nm, and you can understand the excitement when you realize that Moore himself (yes that Moore) called it “The biggest change in transistor technology in 40 years”. Enjoy the interview.

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