Intel Developer Forum Spring 2003 - Day 1: New Concept PCsby Anand Lal Shimpi on February 18, 2003 8:58 PM EST
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An Unusual Number of Demonstrations
Normally Barrett's keynotes tend to be focused on the overall picture, the grande scheme of things and definitely not a lot of product demos. Although his keynote this year started out on a very similar note to the one we heard 6 months ago, it ended on a much different note - primarily with the number of demonstrations that he introduced.
The first was a quick demo of some of the software Intel is using in their 90nm chip manufacturing. We've mentioned a tool known as a Focused Ion Beam (FIB) in previous articles, but to recap its purpose is to perform surgery on microprocessors. It can be used to cut very small wires through the metal layers of a CPU in order to fix defects among other things. For more information on one particular use of a FIB tool be sure to read our Inside Intel article published last year.
The software Intel demonstrated today was a noise filtering application; when dealing with smaller manufacturing processes, you can either upgrade all of your equipment to deal with the reduced scale of the transistors and wires you'll be working with, or you can try and make what you currently have more flexible. In the case of the 90nm transition and FIB tools, one of the biggest problems you'll encounter is differentiating noise from the actual parts of the circuit that you're applying the FIB to.
The proof is in the pictures from the demonstration, first we have the before shot:
...and now the after shot:
Instead of picking an actual circuit application, here we're greeted with the Intel logo etched into silicon but you get the idea. The filtering algorithm is quite CPU intensive and as you can guess, makes decent use of today's excess processing power.