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Thread: IBM's New eFuse Tech

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    IBM's New eFuse Tech

    Source: http://eet.com/semi/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=26100962]EE Times[/url]

    First place EFUSE was mentioned, PDF IBM whitepaper

    Link Orginally Found on [H]ard|OCP

    IBM's eFuse technology portends adaptable chips

    By Spencer Chin
    EE Times
    July 30, 2004 (3:00 PM EDT)

    MANHASSET, N.Y. IBM Corp. unveiled new chip technology on Friday (July 30) that it said is able to adjust its own functionality and perform trade-offs between performance and power consumption without human intervention.

    The technology, called "eFuse," is said to combine software algorithms and microscopic electrical fuses to produce chips able to regulate and adapt to their own actions in response to changing conditions and system demands.

    By employing the autonomic capability, the technology is expected to alter the way chips are designed, manufactured and integrated into electronic products, according to IBM.

    "eFuse reroutes chip logic, much the way highway traffic patterns can be altered by opening and closing new lanes," Bernard Meyerson, vice president and chief technologist of IBM Systems and Technology Group, said in a statement.

    The technology works by constantly monitoring chip functionality and initiating corrective actions by tripping inexpensive, simple electrical fuses that are designed into the chip. The activated fuses help the chip control individual circuit speed to manage power consumption and repair unexpected, potentially costly flaws.

    For instance, if the technology detects the chip is malfunctioning because individual circuits are running too fast or slow, it can either slow or speed the circuits by regulating the appropriate local voltage.

    The eFuse technology was originally referenced in an IBM technical paper on embedded DRAM in November 2002. It successfully employs electromigration, a technique that has traditionally been detrimental to chip performance and been avoided in design.

    IBM said it was able to successfully harness electromigration and use it to program a fuse without damaging other chip parts. This is in contrast to previous electromigration efforts that ruptured fuses and caused subsequent performance and reliability problems.

    IBM plans to employ eFuse in microprocessors based on the company's Power Architecture, including Power5 and other chips used in IBM eServer systems, as well as low-power IBM silicon germanium chips. It has begun eFuse production at its 300-mm facility in East Fishkill, N.Y., and its 200-mm plant in Burlington, Vt.
    This looks like a promising technology. Just wondering what you guys thought of it. I have a feeling this will start showing up in IBM server's before too long. They could increase the uptime of servers, as this should reduce hardware malfunctions. It MIGHT allow servers to adjust their speed due to the load they were getting... That would be interesting. It might reduce the wear and tear on the hardware.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    It does sound weird -- at first I thought it would simply blow these inexpensive fuses and cripple your non-inexpensive processor. But after reading it a second time it seems that it would scale back on the speed in localized areas (which has not been done before to my small knowledge) to lower temperatures.

    I guess this is a good move on IBM's part. It seems more effective in that the speed is (aparrently) lowered in very localized regions, such as the Floating-Point Unit, or some other section of the processor that could be running out of spec (too hot) while the rest is working great. I can see where it would be better than monitoring overall temperature and scaling the entire processor back. And their using electromigration to do this is pretty spiffy too. If I had a processor that needed to scale back to cool off, I'd love for the parts that need the break to get a small break/cooldown while the rest of the processor that is healthy keeps ticking away. So, definately a great move. And I sure hope that this is what IBM has done

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