IBM plots $3b investment in the chip technologies of the future to power cloud computing and Big Data

IBM is investing $3 billion [£1.75 billion] over the next five years in two programmes that focus on broad research and early stage investment to eventually push the limits of chip technology needed for cloud computing and Big Data systems.

Related: IBM boasts of $4.4bn revenue from cloud business in 2013

The investment will be focused on two distinct research programmes that look at “7 nanometer and beyond” technology and developing alternative technologies for post-silicon era chips.

One programme is aimed at developing “7 nanometer and beyond” silicon technology that is specifically looking to address the physical challenges that threaten current scaling techniques and future chip development.

The second programme looks at developing alternative technologies for post-silicon era chips using completely different approaches due to the fact that silicon-based semiconductors have significant physical limitations.

IBM will invest most heavily in areas that are already being researched by its teams including carbon nanoelectronics, silicon photonics, new memory technologies, and architectures that support quantum and cognitive computing.

Teams will be made up of IBM research scientists and engineers from New York, California and Europe. All of them will look at providing orders of magnitude improvement in system level performance and energy efficient computing.

The firm is also planning to continue investing in nanosciences and quantum computing, where it has been at the head of the market for at least the past three decades. These technologies include neurosynaptic computing, silicon photonics, III-V technologies, carbon nanotubes, graphene and next generation low power transistors.

Related: IBM throws over $1bn into cloud and data centre market

"In the next 10 years computing hardware systems will be fundamentally different as our scientists and engineers push the limits of semiconductor innovations to explore the post-silicon future," said Tom Rosamilia, senior VP, IBM Systems and Technology Group. "IBM Research and Development teams are creating breakthrough innovations that will fuel the next era of computing systems."