Intel, IBM to lead $4.4B chip R&D hub in NY

by Dylan McGrath , TechOnline India - September 29, 2011

A group of semiconductor companies is to invest $4.4 billion over five years to create a semiconductor research and development hub

A group of semiconductor companies led by Intel Corp. and IBM Corp. will invest $4.4 billion over five years to create a semiconductor research and development hub in New York to develop next-generation chip technology, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday (Sept. 27).

The investment is centered around two projects, one led by IBM and its partners that will focus on building the next two generations of semiconductors, and another led by Intel that will focus on developing process technology for 450-mm wafers, dubbed the Global 450 Consortium, according to the statement issued by Cuomo's office.

Intel is joined in the 450-mm development effort by IBM, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Gloabalfoundries Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., according to the statement. Intel separately agreed to establish its 450-mm East Coast headquarters to support the overall project management in New York's capitol, Albany, according to the statement.

A spokesman for IBM said IBM and its partners in the Common Platform process technology alliance, Samsung and Globalfoundries, would focus research on developing 22- and 14-nm chips. Further details of the development work will emerge at a later date, the spokesperson said. Of the $4.4 billion in total investment in the two R&D projects, $3.6 billion will come from IBM, said the spokesperson. According to Cuomo's statement, this new commitment by IBM brings its total investment in chip technology in New York to more than $10 billion in the past decade.

No private company will receive any state funds as part of the agreement, according to the statement from Cuomo. It is unclear if the companies involved will receive tax breaks or other incentives to locate the projects in New York. To support the project, New York will invest $400 million over five year in the SUNY College for Nanoscale and Science Engineering (CNSE) in Albany, including $100 million for energy efficiency and low cost energy allowances, according to Cuomo's office.

New York secured the investments in competition with countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, according to Cuomo's statement.

According to Cuomo's office, the two R&D programs will create about 4,400 jobs and result in the retention of another 2,500 existing jobs in upstate New York. The roughly 4,400 jobs that will be created include about 2,500 high-tech jobs at CNSE Albany NanoTech Complex, IBM., SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica and CNSE's Smart System Technology & Commercialization Center in Canandaigua, according to the statement.

"This unprecedented private investment in New York's economy will create thousands of jobs and make the state the epicenter for the next generation of computer chip technology," Gov. Cuomo said.

Some chip makers, including those involved in the Global 450 Consortium, are at the early stages of developing process technology to migrate from building chips on 300-mm silicon wafers to 450-mm wafers, which will allow them to produce more than twice as many chips per wafer. Equipment vendors initially resisted the migration to a new wafer size, but have gradually come on board and begun creating early-stage production tools.

Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini said in the statement released by Cuomo's office that the Global 450 Consortium is a critical element for moving the chip industry to the next-generation wafer size.

"This new technology will reduce the cost of production, increase productivity for manufacturers and reduce our environmental footprint on a per chip basis," Otellini said.

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