IBM says it will deliver its first 45nm chips in 2008 and released some more info about the production process:
Until now, neither company had announced the ingredients of this new mix of materials. But IBM researchers said on Monday they had used their Blue Gene supercomputer to model 50 combinations of hafnium dioxide and basic silicon. The company plans to build chips based on the new mixture in 2008.
The new material looked good in theory, but IBM engineers had to create simulations of different mixtures to avoid any surprises when they added it to semiconductor production lines, said Alessandro Curioni, a supercomputing expert at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory. Curioni was one of three authors who published this research in a paper published in the January edition of the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
The team used new algorithms and a Blue Gene/L supercomputer with 4,096 processors to crunch the numbers. The program took about five days to run a simulation for each combination of ingredients, modeling the interaction between individual particles for the 600 atoms in every model. If the researchers had used a typical notebook PC, the 250-day job would have taken them 700 years, he said.
Intel's first 45nm processors are expected later this year.