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The Time Is Right

The introduction of PMCm technology comes at a very opportune time in computer system development. Although we have a roadmap that can be reasonably expected to lead to a steady reduction in transistor size over the next decade, its translation into new products and markets faces some serious constraints. Productivity in circuit design lags that in manufacturing so although we may be able to make chips with billions of logic transistors in 2014, limited design resources will restrict us to much more modest capabilities. One solution is to add more memory and reuse existing logic designs. This is an effective and pragmatic approach but it shifts the constraint to memory circuits.

Both of today's mainstream memory technologies - DRAM for core memory and flash for non-volatile embedded memory - are running out of steam. In the case of flash, the problems arise from the steady reduction in supply voltages when device programmability rests on a high voltage, quasi-breakdown process.

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