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Next-Generation Chip Fabs

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the dips-not-included dept.

Technology 256

PaulBu writes "As reported in EE Times, a new IBM $2.5B fab will be the first one to 'produce chips using all three of the sophisticated technologies on the industry's bleeding edge: low-k dielectrics, copper interconnect and silicon-on-insulator based transistors' on 300mm wafers. And it runs entirely on Linux! Quote from the article: 'The state of automation in Building 323 is such that 20,000 sensors are used to track wafer lots in front-opening unified pods that are transported from one tool to the next on rails using linear induction motors. The setup resembles an intricate monorail system tuned to millimeter-precision specs. A central control system monitors all stations and tracks wafer lots via 802.11 wireless communications.'"

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next gen chip fags? (-1)

anthrax_spork (532086) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106049)

what is your fixation on fags?

Watch out for Starbucks (5, Funny)

havaloc (50551) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106060)

For they will wreck havoc with your 802.11 control infrastructure.

Re:Watch out for Starbucks (3, Insightful)

unicron (20286) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106100)

I'd be more worried about wardrivers. A lapse in security could result in someone on the street loading the master control program and thinking it's to ruin a few thousand high end processor chips. Hell, could you imagine how bad it would be if someone maliciously turned off the error checking on the sensors and it went un-noticed for even a days worth of manufacturing.

Re:Watch out for Starbucks (2)

SanLouBlues (245548) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106156)

Or even if they only implemented their own 802.11 network at very high signal power, causing IBM's traffic to be filtered as noise. But then again, IBM isn't that stupid, and they probably either have a huge radius of land around the factory that they control (very likely also for coporate espionage prevention), use very high transmission power themselves, or have some sort of EM shielding in the factory walls.

Re:Watch out for Starbucks (2)

unicron (20286) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106197)

Yeah, but if you know where the building is, you could always wardrive with a high-gain directional attenna.

Re:Watch out for Starbucks (3, Insightful)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106322)

"Or even if they only implemented their own 802.11 network at very high signal power, causing IBM's traffic to be filtered as noise."

I wouldn't be surprised if it's 802.11a. Most people with their 2.4 GHz 802.11b equipment can't connect to the 5 GHz 802.11a networks.

Re:Watch out for Starbucks (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106374)

Actually the building itself probably acts as the EM shielding as most plants are made of reinforced concrete, 2.4Ghz signals either fail to penetrate the concrete or are reflected by the steel reinforcing bars. I doubt you could get a signal in the parking lot much less outside their secured fence.

Re:Watch out for Starbucks (3, Informative)

_Swank (118097) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106329)

i'm assuming you've never worked in manufacturing, but the machines used in most plants almost never run completely unattended. much of the time they have an operator who's job is to watch over the machine to make sure it's operating. in addition they (or someone else) is almost always responsible for taking a sample of the product after the machine has done it's duty and running it through various tests to ensure certain conditions on the parts they are creating. this helps to guarantee both that if a machine is not functioning normally, it's caught as soon as possible and second that those parts that were manufactured while the machine was misbehaving don't get sent on for further processing.

any manufacturing company worth their salt (read in business) has these measures in place, IBM being one of these.

(and yes, i work for IBM, but no longer on the manufacturing side)

Re:Watch out for Starbucks (3, Funny)

DonkeyJimmy (599788) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106137)

Watch out for Starbucks?
This is the wrong thread for that.
We do not belong.

No way. (3, Funny)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106206)

What are the odds that a chip manufacturing plant this big has converted their entire warehouse building into a giant faraday cage?

Hell, I would.

you're so welcome (-1)

anthrax_spork (532086) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106063)

IBM's $2.5B fab turns Hudson into silicon valley
By Nicolas Mokhoff, EE Times
Aug 5, 2002 (12:51 PM)
URL: http://www.eetimes.com/story/OEG20020805S0039

EAST FISHKILL, N.Y. -- As leading U.S. semiconductor companies forge ahead with 300-mm fabs -- downturn be damned -- New York's Hudson Valley region is angling for status as a silicon valley in its own right, led by longtime-presence IBM.

Among the three announced openings this year -- by Texas Instruments, Intel and IBM Microelectronics -- IBM's fab, in Building 323 here, will be the only one that, when fully deployed, will produce chips using all three of the sophisticated technologies on the industry's bleeding edge: low-k dielectrics, copper interconnect and silicon-on-insulator based transistors. IBM will use the triple threat to build up chips on 12-inch wafers that pass from station to station in wafer pods on centrally controlled, automated, elevated rails.

The company brought the $2.5 billion fab on stream last week, two weeks after International Sematech and the State University of New York at Albany announced plans to establish a Sematech North branch in the Hudson Valley to develop next-generation lithography processes. IBM has a hand in the Sematech North project, in which the company and the state plan to invest $325 million. The initiative includes a five-year project to develop an extreme-ultraviolet lithography infrastructure.

IBM's $2.5 billion fab represents the largest private-sector investment in New York state history and the nation's largest since 1995, with 1,000 jobs expected to be created as a result at East Fishkill Hudson Valley Research Park. The fab is part of a $5 billion capital investment program launched in October 2000 to create a broad-based manufacturing hub in the state.

'Better place to work'

"IBM has been a critical partner in our economic development efforts, which will bring thousands of good high-tech jobs to our state," said New York Gov. George E. Pataki at the fab's ribbon-cutting ceremony. In a dig at the valley more widely associated with chip development, Pataki quipped, "I've been to Silicon Valley. They don't have the trees we have. They have earthquakes, and their lights go out. Hudson Valley is a much better place to innovate and work."

But until recently there were no guarantees that IBM would remain a presence in the region. The talks that ultimately kept IBM in New York commenced in 1994 and involved complex negotiations with the state.

Calling the 300-mm facility "the center of nanotechnology," John Kelly, an IBM senior vice president and group executive of the Technology Group, recalled that developers working in the Hudson Valley had deployed single-transistor devices to form the backbone of the IBM 360 mainframe back in the 1950s. "Today we can't even imagine the products that will be produced as a result of this new state-of-the-art fab," Kelly said. "One thing is for sure: We couldn't have done it without the support of the state."

Kelly said that the company's Burlington, Vt., plants are running at full capacity and that demand for microchips manufactured with the latest technologies has remained strong even in the downturn. Customers for the chips manufactured at East Fishkill will include game system makers Nintendo and Sony.

Full qualification of 300-mm wafers and the start of volume production of 0.1-micron chips are expected in 2003. Today, some 100 processing tools are putting wafer lots through their paces in the refurbished plant, which until 1993 had been used to manufacture bipolar chips on 5-inch wafers. To accommodate the 300-mm equipment, IBM had to take down 4.5 million pounds of concrete to raise the roof 4 feet.

"What's good about this facility is that the development area and the manufacturing area are under one roof," said Richard Brilla, director of 300-mm operations. "As we produce 130-nm devices, we will test out the 90-nm and 65-nm nodes right here, allowing for a quick transfer to production later."

The 300-mm development line will consume 34,000 square feet of the building's 140,000 square feet of clean-room space.

The state of automation in Building 323 is such that 20,000 sensors are used to track wafer lots in front-opening unified pods that are transported from one tool to the next on rails using linear induction motors. The setup resembles an intricate monorail system tuned to millimeter-precision specs. A central control system monitors all stations and tracks wafer lots via 802.11 wireless communications. Technicians and engineers in bunny suits walk the floor with wireless PC notebooks, monitoring the lots.

"This is the first fab whose IT infrastructure is all Linux-based, controlled by some 1,700 1-GHz microprocessors able to access some 600 terabytes of data," said Perry Hartswick, project manager for factory integration solutions. "Together with Cisco, we developed this IT manufacturing environment with off-the-shelf parts."

Linux beats Windows

Hartswick said Linux was evaluated against a Windows-based system and performed flawlessly for three months, whereas the Windows-based system failed after six or seven days.

An internally developed master software system called SiView controls all manufacturing operations. An IBM spokesperson said the manufacturing execution system is being licensed to others for fab control.

As for the intended output of Building 323, Bijan Davari, vice president for technology and emerging products, said the company has "spent $500 million on process development alone in order to maintain our technology leadership, and we are experiencing a significant recovery via intellectual-property licensing and alliances. Our value proposition is that we are one to two years ahead of the best of the best."

Davari, whose mission is to drive industry-defined breakthroughs from the laboratory into manufacturing as quickly as possible, maintained that "IBM is not a me-too foundry business" but works with a set of customers that are able to leverage the best technology.

"We will be expanding the PowerPC licenses, and we will provide functional integration between EDA [electronic design automation] tools and processing tools for our customers," said Davari. About two-thirds of the 300-mm fab capacity will be for OEM use, Davari added.

"Technology continues to be one of our cornerstones in delivering value to our customers," Samuel Palmisano, IBM's president and chief executive officer, said at the ceremony. Palmisano thinks the 300-mm facility will play a major role in IBM's continued collaboration with New York state and the state's university system.

Alian Kaloyeros of the State University at Albany, who is involved in student recruiting, quipped that "with so many of our students going straight from school to work for IBM, sometimes I feel that I am working for [John] Kelly, but without pay." Davari concurred that "a very large contingent of new physicists out of school yearn for the chance of working at the leading edge of technology here."

"Unlike others who go fabless and whose technologies are all starting to look the same, IBM Microelectronics is expanding into the high-volume foundry space with the added-value resources customers want and the capacity they need," concluded Michel Mayer, general manager of IBM Microelectronics.

But in this economic environment, it remains to be seen whether the fab will help New York realize its ambitions as a semiconductor manufacturing center or set those dreams adrift on the Hudson.

Copyright 2002 © CMP Media, LLC

confused about ibm's plans (1)

epicstruggle (311178) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106067)

I thought ibm was implementing a new plan of getting out of anything hardware related and concentrating in proving "services" (ie the recent purchase of a major company, cant remember its name). Maybe im just confused.

epicstruggle

Re:confused about ibm's plans (1)

ScoLgo (458010) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106101)

I believe you're thinking of their specific move away from hard drives - not hardware in general.

Re:confused about ibm's plans (3, Funny)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106135)

I thought ibm was implementing a new plan of getting out of anything hardware related and concentrating in proving "services" (ie the recent purchase of a major company, cant remember its name). Maybe im just confused.

No, they're doing MS one better. Software being a service is just so 90s. In the coming century, hardware itself will be a service.

IBM knew that they couldn't come up with this hardware plan alone, so they bought a phone company. Remember when you had to rent your phone and it was illegal to connect a phone that they didn't own to their lines? I mean, forget about activiating your OS. Can you see an automatic deduction from checking every time you boot up?

Wait, then why is IBM pushing Linux? If they were really going with a pay-per-boot plan, they'd be pushing MS. Either they didn't think this plan through all the way, or I'm reading it incorrectly.

Re:confused about ibm's plans (1)

purrpurrpussy (445892) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106267)

I wouldn't be!!! They can churn out huge amounts of cheap chips - about 1Ghz, all with wireless links, all running Linux.... hell put the OS in the firmware.... then they will fill offices with them! There's no use selling 1 computer to a company, you need to sell a complete system for it to be garaunteed sale esp. if you can cut great chunks out of the cost. Customization is easy BTW..... Windows costs extra... perhaps they won't though!

Re:confused about ibm's plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106308)

Not at all. IBM is in no way moving away from the hardware market. Global services is becoming increasingly huge, but their hardware division is not becoming SMALLER (other than specific things, such as the sale of our money-losing HD business). This new fab, from what I understand, is meant for foundry services... making chips for other companies. (I work for IBM Global Services)

*snicker* (2, Insightful)

Ratface (21117) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106070)

"Hartswick said Linux was evaluated against a Windows-based system and performed flawlessly for three months, whereas the Windows-based system failed after six or seven days."

It's points like this which the Linux evangelists out there should be adding to their scrapbooks.

Interesting to note that their network is based on 1Ghz processors though - perhaps a way of reducing an ageing inventory??

Re:*snicker*, You mentioned the Anti-Christ!! (-1, Offtopic)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106160)

Guess what? You mentioned the Anti-Christ. RELIGION IS ILLEGAL FEEL THE WRATH OF THE LEFT!!!

(ALERT!! This is not a Troll Statement. Read In Complete Before Moderating)

Your obviously religious doctrine is not sensitive to the needs of pagans, atheists, and agnostics.

Your post is offensive to Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Confucian Philosophers, Taoists, Buddhists, Wiccans, Scientologists, Gnostics, Masons, Satanists, New Dawn Members, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Secularists, Monetaryanism (A Term for Money Worshippers)

Your post is an affront to the following economic\political systems: Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, Anarchism, the Fordian Society, The Orwellian Society, Unitary Federalism, Fascism, Secular Hedonism and other misc. 'ISMs.

Your post is racially offensive to the following non-existent racial groups: Blacks, African Americans, Hispanics, Mexicans, Latinos, Spanish-Americans, Asians, Orientals, Chinese, Chinese-American, Japanese, Japanese Americans, Nisei, Korean Americans, Koreans, Hawaiian-American, Vietnamese, American-Vietnamese, Indians, India-Americans, Native American, American Indians, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Normans, whites, Eastern Europeans, Mediterranean Americans, English Americans, Scottish Americans, Irish Americans, Africans, Arab Americans, Egyptians, Kiwi, Kiwi-Americans (New Zealand), Austrian-Americans, Tasmanian-Americans, Moroccan-Americas, Brazilian-Americans, Martians, Legal Immigrants, Illegal Immigrants, and any other sensitive cultures I may have forgotten about.

Your post is sexually discriminating against: males, females, hermaphrodites, she-males, he-shes, gay males, gay females, celibate males, celibate females, and various non-specific or unidentifiable sexes that may or may not exist in nature including but not limited to Virtual Life-forms, such as Sims and Mobs. Also your post neglects to have sensitivity towards non-life based organisms such as Viruses.

Your post is intellectually discriminating against: stupid people, dumb people, ignorant people, ill-informed people, lazy people, brain dead people, and non-thinking objects such as rocks, pebbles, boulders, and mountains.

Your post is discriminating against people of challenge including: blind people, retarded people, people that suffer physical and neurological disorders, illiterate people, vertically challenged, gravity deprived, obese, anorexic, and people that cannot focus for more than 10 seconds due to too much television.

Your post is economically discriminating against people who cannot afford computers or do not have time to read your post. In addition you post discriminated against Luddites, Amish, and those that practice the socially acceptable policy that can be deemed as Anti-Technology.

Your post is also discriminatory to those that read right to left versus left to right and those that read vertically.

In summary: KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!

Euphorian Hymn Version 2.0 by KenP, Copyrighted Today! All Rights Reserved

Re:*snicker* (1)

armyofone (594988) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106208)

Interesting to note that their network is based on 1Ghz processors though - perhaps a way of reducing an ageing inventory??

That may very well be part of the motivation. Another thought occurs to me; one of the selling-points of Linux over Windows is that it performs better on older hardware. Why pay more for un-needed processing power, after all?

These seem to be INTEL processors! (1)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106275)

I'm wondering why would they considered Windows (apparently running on Intel processors), when from pure PR point of view a bunch of PowerPC-based machines (Macs, anyone? :)) would look soo much better. OTOH, most probably tool vendors do build Pentiums into their machines...

PaulBu

Re:These seem to be INTEL processors! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106305)

Hahahaha. Mac. That's funny. I can just see the room full of pink iMacs.

Re:These seem to be INTEL processors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106364)

Hahaha! And the workers wear tutus!!

1Ghz processors (3, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106407)

I've worked in motion control, although nothing that big, and 1 GHz processors are overkill for that application. Heck, we got decent results with 486-50s.

Their reasoning for choosing Linux (5, Informative)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106071)

" Hartswick said Linux was evaluated against a Windows-based system and performed flawlessly for three months, whereas the Windows-based system failed after six or seven days. "

"An internally developed master software system called SiView controls all manufacturing operations. An IBM spokesperson said the manufacturing execution system is being licensed to others for fab control.

As for the intended output of Building 323, Bijan Davari, vice president for technology and emerging products, said the company has "spent $500 million on process development alone in order to maintain our technology leadership, and we are experiencing a significant recovery via intellectual-property licensing and alliances. Our value proposition is that we are one to two years ahead of the best of the best."

Re:Their reasoning for choosing Linux (1, Flamebait)

cperciva (102828) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106182)

" Hartswick said Linux was evaluated against a Windows-based system and performed flawlessly for three months, whereas the Windows-based system failed after six or seven days. "

If you have to resort to saying "well, it's better than Windows", you've got problems.

Re:Their reasoning for choosing Linux (5, Funny)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106207)

Yeah, who on earth would make a decision based on whats better? Whats the engineering world coming to?

Re:Their reasoning for choosing Linux (3, Insightful)

armyofone (594988) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106298)

What part of performed flawlessly for three months did you not understand?

Claiming to be better than the competition - and being able to show real-world examples of it is a Good Thing. Seems to me that if you can't say, "It's better than Windows", that's when you really have problems.

Re:Their reasoning for choosing Linux (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106393)

My understanding is that almost all previous controll software ran on VMS, so linux replacing the older systems is significant, even if the other replacement consideration was windows.

Uhh (2)

unicron (20286) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106077)

I would like to hope that this will drive down chip costs to the consumer, but the ironic/funny thing is is that I fear it will jack them through the roof for 6 months so they can pay for the damn lab.

Re:Uhh (5, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106219)

Uh... do you have any idea how much fabs cost? Six years ago a state-of-the-art fab, which was designed to manufacture nothing smaller than 0.15 micron transistors (and 0.25 was top notch at the time) cost nearly $1.5B.

Once in full production the fab paid for itself in under 9 months. Amazing what happens when fabbing lots (a lot is 12 or 24 wafers, at least where I worked) that have a street value of $250,000.

Chip costs won't rise. They'll continue to fall, just as they always have. Building a fab is indeed a large investment, but if you have the money to invest then it's one that'll pay for itself in a very short amount of time.

Frankly, $2.5B for a 65 nm (aka 0.065 micron) fab is a good value. Sure, if they're starting off with 150 nm or 130 nm equipment they'll have to replace nearly everything to go down to 90 or 65 nm, but that's probably less than a billion per cycle. Equipment is no big deal -- the building itself is a huge deal. Getting all the tolerances tight enough for 65 nm work costs a LOT of money.

Talk about a Beowulf cluster... (1, Funny)

ScoLgo (458010) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106080)

"This is the first fab whose IT infrastructure is all Linux-based, controlled by some 1,700 1-GHz microprocessors able to access some 600 terabytes of data."

I need one of these setups in my garage ;-)

Can you imagine! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106220)

Can you imagine a beo ... [post truncated]

[incipient Beowulf cluster joke aborted by the Grendel filter]

Re:Can you imagine! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106327)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of Grendel Filters!

Only mm? (2, Funny)

gerf (532474) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106103)

The setup resembles an intricate monorail system tuned to millimeter-precision specs

Um, just millimeter? You'd think where chips have components measured in nanometers, that you'd need just a bit more than millimeter precision. Oops, that transistor's off a bit again! i wonder why? :P

Re:Only mm? (2)

DarkMan (32280) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106143)

The tracks are for transport - not for positioning.

It's not clear which method they're using, but either the whole wafer is imobile during the lithography step, or that there are precise adjustments made after they're moved by the liner motors.

Re:Only mm? (2, Informative)

apirkle (40268) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106150)

Um, just millimeter? You'd think where chips have components measured in nanometers, that you'd need just a bit more than millimeter precision. Oops, that transistor's off a bit again! i wonder why? :P

They're referring to the system that shuttles containers of wafers around the fab, moving them from machine to machine. Robots run around on rails, dropping down to pick up a sealed container of wafers and whisk it away to the next stage in the manufacturing process.

Once a wafer is loaded into a stepper for printing, rest assured that it is aligned very precisely.

Re:Only mm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106171)

system that shuttles containers of wafers around the fab, moving them from machine to machine. Robots run around on rails, dropping down to pick up a sealed container of wafers and whisk it away to the next stage in the manufacturing process.

and

intricate monorail system

Fucking drool.

I want one of those.

Re:Only mm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106181)

Well, the other replies have already said what I was going to say - the mm refers to transport, not to the chips - but I'd still like to point something out...

If your sig is supposed to be referring to a Simpsons episode, it should say "Don't do what Donny Don't does", not "Johnny Don't".

Re:Only mm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106268)

Really? hmm, i guess i'll have to watch closer the next time i see that episode... i kinda pulled it outa my arse, so i can easily be wrong. actually, i'm most likey wrong... heh

-gerf

Re:Only mm? (5, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106354)

As others have pointed out, the system is for moving wafers, not loading them into the machines. This is nothing new -- I worked at Texas Instruments several years ago and they had a rail system moving lots around the fabs, keyed to barcode scanners and a Unix backend (we used Solaris on oodles of Sparc 5's).

Honestly, it's not clear from the article if the rail system does end-to-end transport, or if it's just a lot shuttle. At TI it was just a shuttle - you'd ask for the next lot to be processed for a particular machine and the system would retrieve the lot and move the tray to you. A technician would pick the basket up off the rail and then use vacuum wands to move the wafers into the loading mechanism for the machine. Once processing was done, vacuum wand the wafers back into the basket and place it back on the track.

This process is error prone -- TI would only hire technicians with at least a high school diploma, but it's still human intensive and distractions can (and did) cause problems. Grab the wafer by the wrong side? Toast. Vacuum seal break while moving the wafer? Shatter. Drop the basket? Many shatters. Accidentilly forget which wafers have been processed already (many of the machines could only load 5 or 10 wafers, and a lot was 24 wafers)? Bad things happen when you double-dope or double-etch wafers.

If IBM's new automation system is end-to-end, meaning that the rail system somehow automatically loads and unloads the wafers to/from machines then that's a real advancement. It would allow you to eliminate 80% of the humans from inside the fab, and humans are one of the primary causes of particles. When you start talking about 65 nm processes, you have to seriously consider eliminating humans as much as possible from the environment. Or at least having them wear self-contained suits -- hair, skin, and clothing all shed humongous particles at a frightening rate (to a silicon wafer that is). And don't even think about being a smoker.

Re:Only mm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106415)

yeah, i know. but it really just sounded funny to me. it's like they're trying to make 'millimeter' sound like it's a big deal or something. geesh, i got modded down already. what hosers! hehe

Re:Only mm? (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106417)

you have to seriously consider eliminating humans

It's been considered, but they taste so good!

Since no one has said it yet (1, Funny)

emkman (467368) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106106)

What about someone sitting in the parking lot with a laptop and an antenna, who hops onto the network and sends fake data to the control system, screwing up all the chips?

Re:Since no one has said it yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106265)

Oh, let's see, where to begin? I know. Are you familiar with Michael Faraday? He came up with something called a Faraday Cage. Maybe you should look in to it.

On top of that there's basic stuff like encryption and checking MACs and possibly using a proprietary network-layer protocol to make things extra difficult.

802.11 ? (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106108)

A central control system monitors all stations and tracks wafer lots via 802.11 wireless communications

Well I sure hope they do not have a microwave oven in the breakroom :-D

Re:802.11 ? (1)

Zed2K (313037) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106391)

for 802.11b yes, 802.11a no

Millimeter (2, Funny)

handorf (29768) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106128)

"tuned to millimeter-precision specs"

Umm... since when is a millimeter a big unit of measurement? My CAR DOOR is built to millimeter precision specs. The engine had bloody well better be .001mm specs.

Silly author... don't quote units when they're meaningless.

Re:Millimeter (0)

frostgiant (243045) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106180)

*ahem*
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=38358& threshol d=0&commentsort=0&tid=126&mode=thread&pid=4106103# 4106143

Your sig... (1)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106344)

-- IANAEG

I interpreted that as "I Am Not Alderac Entertainment Group."

Little short on the creativity (5, Funny)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106144)

They spent 2.5 BILLION bucks on this fab and the only thing they could think of naming it was "Building 323". That's so weak. How about SupaFab? Fab:TNG? Absolutely Fab-ulous? MegaFab2k2? It's not like this is a super secret government base like Area 51. Come on IBM, have some flair.

-B

Re:Little short on the creativity (2)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106162)

Perhaps all the other buildings have ubercool names like FabFactory, Coders Junction, etc... and by choosing Building 323 they were being flairful :)

Then again, when you are in FISHKILL, how flairful of a name do you need (why are there so many towns in NY that end in KILL?)

Re:Little short on the creativity (1)

NighthawkFoo (16928) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106217)

Blame the Dutch. A kill is a group of fish.

Re:Little short on the creativity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106262)

Close but no cigar - Fishkill is a combination of two Dutch words, "vis," meaning fish, and "kill," meaning stream. Therefore, Fishkill can be translated as fish stream or fish creek.

Re:Little short on the creativity (1)

maxconfus (522536) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106337)

the 'Kill' suffix comes from the state's Dutch orgins.

Re:Little short on the creativity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106421)

(why are there so many towns in NY that end in KILL?

I could tell you, but then I would have to ...

IBM != Flair (5, Funny)

doublem (118724) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106198)

"IBM" and "Flair" are two words that just don't go together.

Oops. I was wrong Google says there are 12,100 hits. [google.com]

Re:IBM != Flair (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106222)

You know, the nazis had pieces of flair...they made the jews wear 'em.

Re:Little short on the creativity (2)

debrain (29228) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106213)

Well, if they had a touch of Mazda in them:

Building 323: The Chronos Lab

Re:Little short on the creativity (1)

cacav (567890) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106216)

Apparently you've never been to an IBM site before. These sites have dozens or more buildings on them. Each building is numbered. Building 323 just happens to hold the fab.

Re:Little short on the creativity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106278)

I still think the F.A.B. [tvcentury21.com] fab would be fab!

damn infantile geeks!

Re:Little short on the creativity (1)

yakovlev (210738) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106288)

Not just buildings, EVERYTHING is numbered. The TREES usually have little metal tags with numbers on them.

Re:Little short on the creativity (3, Funny)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106230)

B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G.3.2.3: Biomechanical Upgraded Individual Limited to Dangerous Infiltration and Nocturnal Gratification V.3.23

from c.y.b.o.r.g. at brunching.com

Re:Little short on the creativity (1)

wondergeek (220755) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106239)

No, they should have called it:

Super Building 323 Turbo Champions Special Edition

Re:Little short on the creativity (2)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106293)

Come on IBM, have some flair.

Haven't you been watching those IBM commercials on TV?

"Cool" costs them money.

Re:Little short on the creativity (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106343)

"They spent 2.5 BILLION bucks on this fab and the only thing they could think of naming it was "Building 323". That's so weak. How about SupaFab? Fab:TNG? Absolutely Fab-ulous? MegaFab2k2? It's not like this is a super secret government base like Area 51. Come on IBM, have some flair."

I feel a slashdot poll coming on ...

Big Fab, Lots of jobs. (2, Informative)

SWPadnos (191329) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106175)

Good thing they just laid off 1000 people at their Essex Junction, VT fab.

OK, it has to be said... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106176)

...because if I don't, someone else will...

Imagine a BEOWULF cluster of these things!!!!!1

Re:OK, it has to be said... (-1, Offtopic)

frostgiant (243045) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106192)

Yes, a Beowulf cluster of fabrication plants would rock. Not.

If I love Lucy was around these days (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106185)

There'd be an episode about Lucy at the chip fab plant, and the conveyor belt would get out of control, and she'd ruin millions of dollars in chips. It'd be hilarious.

Already heard that one (2, Funny)

Foozy (552529) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106190)

...20,000 sensors are used to track wafer lots in front-opening unified pods that are transported from one tool to the next on rails using linear induction motors. The setup resembles an intricate monorail system tuned to millimeter-precision specs. A central control system monitors all stations...

Anyone remember the Denver airport baggage handling system fiasco?

monorail... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106191)

Lyle Lanley: Well, sir, there's nothing on earth Like a genuine, Bona fide, Electrified, Six-car Monorail! What'd I say?

Ned Flanders: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: What's it called?

Patty+Selma: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: That's right! Monorail!

[crowd chants `Monorail' softly and rhythmically]

Miss Hoover: I hear those things are awfully loud...

Lyle Lanley: It glides as softly as a cloud.

Apu: Is there a chance the track could bend?

Lyle Lanley: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.

Barney: What about us brain-dead slobs?

Lyle Lanley: You'll be given cushy jobs.

Abe: Were you sent here by the devil?

Lyle Lanley: No, good sir, I'm on the level.

Wiggum: The ring came off my pudding can.

Lyle Lanley: Take my pen knife, my good man.

I swear it's Springfield's only choice...
Throw up your hands and raise your voice!

All: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: What's it called?

All: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: Once again...

All: Monorail!

Marge: But Main Street's still all cracked and broken...

Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!

All: Monorail!
Monorail!
Monorail!

[big finish]

Monorail!

Homer: Mono... D'oh!

What sort of chips? (2, Interesting)

Whispers_in_the_dark (560817) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106202)

So what sort of chips are they planning to manufacture with such bleeding edge technologies? Is IBM trying to squeeze into the PC processor market or is this for more custom jobs?

Re:What sort of chips? (4, Insightful)

entrox (266621) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106282)

According to rumours, IBM will unveil a PPC-based desktop processor - something like a Power4 Lite - on October 15th. Some people speculate that Apple will ditch Motorola in favour of IBM and get the new breed of processors from them, since Motorola is lagging behind and doesn't seem to like having Apple as customer (apparently they got burnt when Jobs killed the clone market).

So perhaps they will fab the next-generation (G5?) processor for Apple there. I at least hope so :)

where's my edit button? :) (3, Informative)

entrox (266621) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106319)

Sorry to reply to myself, but I forgot to include a link: Micro processor Forum [mdronline.com] .

Quote:

Peter Sandon, Senior Processor Architect, Power PC Organization,
IBM Microelectronics IBM is disclosing the technical details of a new 64-bit PowerPC microprocessor designed for desktops and entry-level servers. Based on the award winning Power4 design, this processor is an 8-way superscalar design that fully supports Symmetric MultiProcessing. The processor is further enhanced by a vector processing unit implementing over 160 specialized vector instructions and implements a system interface capable of up to 6.4GB/s.

1024 x 1024 (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106400)

There making 1024 x 1024 arrays of qauntum dots of corse.

Re:What sort of chips? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106286)

IBM is in the foundry market now. Making chips for other people. But also this COULD be used for PowerPC and Power processors. From what I understand, its meant for foundry services though. (I work for IBM Global Services)

Re:What sort of chips? (1)

Duck_Taffy (551144) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106356)

Perhaps some of these?

dual-core Power4 processor aimed at the desktop (http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/3/26594.html )

16,000 employees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106209)

New chips are nice and all, but when are we going to discuss lobbying congress to break up Microsoft?

IBM just cut 16,000 employees, 80% of which were computer services people(many Linux and Java guys). Microsoft is the Standard Oil of the software industry...except worse.

When are we gonna move on this?!?

Boycott MS Visual Studio.NJET!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106232)

Tell your professors not to buy Visual Studio .NJET in your universities!!

What about "Strained Silicon?" (2, Insightful)

wray (59341) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106241)

I read a few days ago about Intel's plan to use "Strained Silicon" in their 90 nm process. Here's the link [anandtech.com]
Quote from the article:

Simply put, you want transistors to be able to pass as much current as possible when they're switched on and to pass no current when they're switched off. Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world and transistors don't always behave as they should. Technologies such as Silicon on Insulator (SOI) help stop current from flowing when it shouldn't (leakage current) and technologies such as Strained Silicon help increase the amount of current that's allowed to flow when it's needed (drive current).

I saw no mention of IBM doing this so I wondered, is this patented by Intel? Even so, if you are setting about to make the most advanced FAB, it would seem that this technology should be licensed.

Read the freakin story! (1)

PackMan97 (244419) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106377)

produce chips using all three of the sophisticated technologies on the industry's bleeding edge: low-k dielectrics, copper interconnect and silicon-on-insulator based transistors


It really isn't that hard to see where IBM will be working with silicon-on-insulator technologies.

Re:Read the freakin story! (1)

wray (59341) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106425)

Uhhh... wow take your own advice! I am talking about STRAINED SILICON, not SOI.

Geesh :~/

802.11 wireless? (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106250)

And sales of brightly colored chalk skyrocket.

FUD just as bad when it comes from Linux crowd (4, Interesting)

nomadicGeek (453231) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106283)

Let's start off by saying that I like Linux and I think that it is great. It sounds like IBM did some fantastic things at this plant and I applaud the innovation.

The Windows system fails after 6 or 7 day? I work with Industrial controls all the time. As I write this, I am working on an NT based server that monitors chemical production. It has only been rebooted 4 times in the last year (I'm waiting for a backup to complete so I can change tapes hence the time to cruise by /.). The reboots are due more to external factors than the box needing it. Reliability is not an issue in the Windows based systems that I build.

If the Windows based system failed after 6 or 7 days then they f'ed something up. There are a lot of things that you can blame on Bill Gates but I don't think that is one of them.

I think that it is great that they are using Linux. I would like to see a lot more of this type of thing. I'd love to take a look at what they have done, but the crap about the Windows system failing is FUD. It smells just as bad coming from the Linux crowd as it does coming from MS.

Re:FUD just as bad when it comes from Linux crowd (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106360)

Bzzt. Next contestant. You have insufficient statistics. If one of their boxen chokes under windows every 7 days, then that's 7x1700 cpu days, or about 35 years between problems. So come back when you NT box has 34 years w/o failure.

Re:FUD just as bad when it comes from Linux crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106376)

Gotta remember, just because you don't see something happening doesn't mean it's not happening. There are hundreds if not thousands of configurations for OS's. M$ cannot afford to test against all of them. There WILL be problems for any given OS for any given HW configuration. Period.

Re:FUD just as bad when it comes from Linux crowd (4, Interesting)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106380)

There is no *best*. Only your setup, your software, your thing. There's nothing to say that their software doesn't hit some bits in Windows that your software doesn't, and thats what causes it to crash. Or they exploit various weaknesses in Windows that your software doesn't.

I dont think theres any intended *this is always better than that if you set it up properly* claim being made here, just the simple fact that the MS install stood for 6 days, and the Linux for 3 months. If I were in charge of the money, I'd go Linux. If the MS had stood for 3 months, and Linux gone down after 6 days, I'd go with Windows.

4 reboots a year aint bad, but we regularly push over a year (FreeBSD, if youre curious):

2:37PM up 385 days, 10:18, 1 user, load averages: 0.75, 0.73, 0.79

4 reboots to me sounds like alot, but then again, we're doing different things on our boxen now, arn't we, so different behaviour can be expected? :)

Reliability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106409)

"I work with Industrial controls all the time."

"I am working on an NT based server that monitors chemical production."

"It has only been rebooted 4 times in the last year".

"Reliability is not an issue in the Windows based systems that I build."

You know I'm REALLY glad I don't live next to a chemical plant.

This is really sad (-1, Troll)

September 11, 2001 (602607) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106302)

To think that people are focusing on something like this after September 11!

Re:This is really sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106373)

Sept. 11th was a bad thing I agree, but grow up and get over it. What's done is done.

Re:This is really sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106392)

To think that people are focusing on something like this after December 7, 1941!

Happy birthday! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106423)

An early happy first birthday to the "Geeks get some priorities" troll!

Woot!

Any experience out there? (1)

maxconfus (522536) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106307)

Since this is largely in my backyard and I have little experience with this type of manufacturing and being an I.T. worker always trolling for new ways to who also has UNIX/LINUX/JAVA/C++ application development experience, does anyone know what kind of knowledge base these shops work off of? What types of apps? And recommendations for getting in the door? Thanks!

a little info from AMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106317)

I had the pleasure of touring AMD's Austin, Texas chip fab. They said that one of the biggest problems with photolithography chip making is that the chip fabs cost so much, the cost is projected to cost more as time goes on and the fabs only have about a 6 year life.

I have to plug AMD a little here since I saw they way they do things. They are 1/7 the size of Intel and hold a very respectable market share. Also, the atmosphere, campus, and people were all great. They also take care of their customers. In fact, they hooked one of us (out of 300) up with a brandy new 1.4 Athlon machine free. We also got to see their unreleased (at the time, maybe not so now) Hammer board. Very cool.

Warchalk! (1, Redundant)

PhoenxHwk (254106) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106328)

A central control system monitors all stations and tracks wafer lots via 802.11 wireless communications.

Let's go warchalk/warfly/warbike/warwalk/wardrive it!

Re:Warchalk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106420)

warchalk easter eggs on there chips?

Monorail? (2, Funny)

GuntherAEPi (254349) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106384)

"The setup resembles an intricate monorail system tuned to millimeter-precision specs."

That's right, a monorail, just like the ones in Ogdenville, North Haverbrook and Brockway!

WARNING: money talks... (1)

wray (59341) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106405)

Not to throw cold water on the linux movement, but don't forget that IBM has a ton of money invested in Linux, and there is motivation there to show that it is better. It is possible that they really didn't try to get Windows working all that hard.

Just something for the conspiracy theorist in all of us :-)

Re:WARNING: money talks... (2)

topham (32406) | more than 12 years ago | (#4106427)

IBM being what they are they would use anything that might show an advantage, even if it was from their competition.

IBM eats its own young. Sometimes thats a good thing, sometimes it doesn't matter with a company that large, and sometimes it's a big mistake.

They keep doing it though.

Monorail!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4106435)

monorail...MonoRail...MONORAIL!!
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