March 28, 2012

Chip Plan Gets Funds

By: Larry Rulison, Business Writer

Source: Times Union

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo's economic development board approved $300 million in funding Tuesday, the state's cash contribution to a $4.8 billion research program designed to revolutionize the computer chip industry in upstate New York.

Half of Cuomo's contribution would go toward a new $1 billion program to move the chip industry away from using 300 millimeter silicon wafers in manufacturing to larger 450mm wafers that would double production efficiency.

The other $150 million in cash would to an IBM program to dramatically shrink components on chips from the current 32 nanometer and 28 nanometer sizes to as small as 14 nanometers.

The state is also contributing $100 million in cheap power from the New York Power Authority. And IBM has promised another $2.8 billion in computer chip spending in East Fishkill and Yorktown, research that is mostly expected to be focused on the 14 nanometer program.

The research programs, which Cuomo announced last fall, are expected to create more than 2,500 jobs upstate, including 800 at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering where the programs will be based.

"Through visionary leadership and critical funding, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is continuing to build New York as the epicenter of the global nanotechnology industry, attracting unparalleled private investment and jobs, jobs, jobs across the state," said NanoCollege CEO Alain Kaloyeros.

Although Cuomo released most of the details of the $4.8 billion initiative in the fall, Tuesday's vote by the Empire State Development Corp. revealed new financial details of the 450mm program, run by five prominent chip makers that have formed what's known as the Global 450mm Wafer Development and Deployment Consortium, or G450C.

The five members of the consortium — Intel, IBM, Samsung, GlobalFoundries and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. — will each contribute $75 million over five years, for a total of $375 million.

However, they will ask their "tool" makers, the suppliers that make the complex manufacturing equipment used in computer chip factories to process wafers, to open their wallets to the tune of $450 million, nearly half of the G450C's initial budget.

SEMI, the San Jose, Calif., trade group that represents the tool makers and other suppliers, could not immediately be reached for comment. Applied Materials, a SEMI member also located in Silicon Valley, has said that it plans to participate in the 450mm research at the NanoCollege. The tools it makes, along with those made by other SEMI members, will be used in a pilot 450mm line that will be housed inside a 50,000-square-foot clean room in the college's $365 million NanoFab Xtension building under construction on Washington Avenue Extension.