According to a new report by IBM, consumers are taking cybersecurity issues seriously, with 56 percent stating that security and privacy will be a key factor in future vehicle purchasing decisions. This is leading automakers to take a hard look at potential points of exploitation, suspicious behavior, and response systems.

As technology advances, cars are becoming much more than just a mode of transportation. Stocked with sensors and computers, your vehicle acts as a kind of moving data center. With the rise of the Internet of Things, car technology is also being integrated with outside devices. While this seamless experience is beneficial in many ways for consumers, it also opens up vulnerabilities in technologies capable of being compromised and hacked.

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Developing Carbon Nanotube Transistors

carbon_nanotubesx519Since the development of the transistor in 1947, the semiconductor industry has been working to rapidly and continuously improve performance and processing speeds of computer chips. Following Gordon Moore’s iconic law—stating that transistor density would double every two years—the semiconducting silicon chip has propelled technology through a wave of electronic transformation.

Next Electronics Revolution

But all good things must come to an end. The process of packing silicon transistors onto computer chips is reaching its physical limits. However, IBM researchers state that they’ve made a “major engineering breakthrough” that provides a viable alternative to silicon transistors.

The team from IBM proposes using carbon nanotube transistors as an alternative, which have promising electrical and thermal properties. In theory, carbon nanotube transistors could be much faster and more energy efficient than currently used transistors. Nanotube transistors have never been utilized in the past due to major manufacturing challenges that prevented their wide-spread commercialization. However, the IBM researchers are combating this issue by combining the nanotubes with metal contacts to deliver the electrical current.

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Lili Deligianni is a Research Scientist and Principal Investigator at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Her innovative work in chemical engineering has led to cutting-edge developments in chip technology and thin film solar cells. Lili has been with ECS for many years and currently serves as the Society’s Secretary.

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IBM’s New Chip Quadruples Capacity

In recent years, the semiconductor industry has struggled to keep up with the pace of the legendary Moore’s Law. With the current 14-nanometer generation of chips, researchers have begun to question if it will remain possible to double transistor density every two and a half years. However, IBM is now pushing away the doubt with the development of their new chip.

The new ultra-dense chip hosts seven-nanometer transistors, which yields about four times the capacity of our current computer chip. Like many other researchers in the field, IBM decided to move away for the traditional and expensive pure silicon toward a silicon-germanium hybrid material to produce the new chip.

The success of the high-capacity chip relies on the utilization of this new material. The use of silicon-germanium has made it possible for faster transistor switching and lower power requirements. And did we mention how impossibly small these transistors are?

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IBM Contracts Company to Take Chip Unit

IBM reported that they will be getting out of the chip making business in order to give more attention to cloud computing and big data analytics.

The company will pay Globalfoundries $1.5 million over the next three years to take control of chip operations.

“They need to narrow their focus, get their A-game on, and any distractions from a core business perspective, such as this deal, need to be put in the rear-view mirror,” FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives told Reuters.

This is not the first notion of IBM reducing its presence in the hardware industry. Earlier this month, the company sold its x86 server business to Lenovo Group Ltd. For $2.1 billion.

This from Reuters:

Globalfoundries Chief Executive Sanjay Jha said the company would invest $10 billion between 2014 and 2015 to develop 10 nanometer, 14 nanometer and radio-frequency technologies.

Read the full article here.

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