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.