Intel Says Glass Is a Key Component to Develop AI

 Glass is the unanticipated material that Intel Corp. is counting on to help the world's computers tackle the increasing demands associated with artificial intelligence. 

According to Intel engineers, the capacity of processors to communicate with the rest of the computer will become a bottleneck as they grow bigger and more complicated. The company claims that the solution to this problem is glass-based substrates, which are placed in between the chip and the connecting parts.

The new strategy is an opportunity for Intel, a chip pioneer vying with Nvidia Corp. for market dominance, to demonstrate its capacity for innovation in an AI environment and gain new clients in the process. In comparison to peers, the corporation has increased R&D investment to around $18 billion annually.

The packaging research and manufacturing facilities of Intel, a little-known aspect of its technology lineup, are the source of the company's drive into glass. As part of a larger campaign to draw clients to its manufacturing activities, the Santa Clara, California-based corporation is attempting to increase the visibility of the organisation.

Since Intel's establishment in the late 1960s, its facilities have focused nearly entirely on manufacturing its own creations. One of the biggest restructurings in the 55-year-old company's history is taking place as the chipmaker expands its foundry operations, which produce semiconductors and other technology for external clients. 

CEO Pat Gelsinger has been praising Intel's strengths in packaging, or the technology that surrounds chips, more frequently. He claims that despite the fact that these customers bring chips from other manufacturers, the business is succeeding in acquiring customers in that region.

The packaging industry is viewed as a means of luring customers who might later utilise Intel for a wider range of their chipmaking requirements. It's a risky wager. With the hope that clients from outside the company will keep them operating, Intel is investing billions in new facilities throughout the globe.

Gelsinger is attempting to revive the notion that Intel can determine the direction for the $580 billion chip industry. Gelsinger will be the keynote speaker at Intel's annual technology conference later this week. 

Intel wants to be the first to commercialise a technology that has been in academic development for years with the glass packaging endeavour. The chipmaker predicts that outdated methods will become ineffective in the latter half of this decade, necessitating the urgent need for fresh approaches.

A package that shields the silicon must be passed through by the minuscule metal channels that transfer data and power between the numerous billions of transistors on a chip and the rest of the computer. That substrate has been composed of a fibreglass and epoxy mixture for the past 20 years. The substance is inexpensive and has elevated to industrial parity.

That packaging layer is beginning to show its limitations as processors increase in transistor count to tens of billions and beyond, driven in part by the needs of AI software. The electrical contacts must be made to touch cleanly, therefore the small electronic components must be held down with the force of an NFL lineman sitting on them. 

The flexible substrate warps as the number of holes increases, which can result in contact loss in some places. The ability to scale down the paths for power and data is also restricted by the epoxy and fibreglass mixture.

Intel claims that Glass resolves these issues. Because of the way the material is structured, data routes can be more precisely carved and the material doesn't warp. The material will expand and contract at the same pace in high temperatures because it shares chemical properties with the silicon it is supporting.

But it's not a given. Intel will need to find a less expensive source of material before the method becomes popular. Additionally, scientists must improve handling methods to prevent glass' most infamous flaw: its propensity to shatter.

At its facility in Chandler, Arizona, Intel employs roughly 4,200 personnel focusing on packaging methods as well as other types of improvements.


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