Confidence Remains in South Korean Tech Industry Despite Tensions

Little effect in memory and displays so far

3 min read

30 November 2010—South Korea dominates two important global technology industries: memory chips and flat-panel displays. The deadly artillery battle on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island last week has put the peninsula in its most tense state in decades. But it remains to be seen if that tension will have a negative effect on its technology sector, or if competing companies in other countries can turn the uncertainty to their advantage.

Together, South Korean companies Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor have more than a 60 percent share of the dynamic RAM market, according to the market research firm iSuppli, in El Segundo, Calif. Any disruption in their ability to produce and deliver DRAM would have a huge impact on the electronics industry, says Mike Howard, a senior analyst at iSuppli. DRAM is critical to making smartphones, televisions, computers, and tablets.

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Two Startups Are Bringing Fiber to the Processor

Avicena’s blue microLEDs are the dark horse in a race with Ayar Labs’ laser-based system

5 min read
Diffuse blue light shines from a patterned surface through a ring. A blue cable leads away from it.

Avicena’s microLED chiplets could one day link all the CPUs in a computer cluster together.


If a CPU in Seoul sends a byte of data to a processor in Prague, the information covers most of the distance as light, zipping along with no resistance. But put both those processors on the same motherboard, and they’ll need to communicate over energy-sapping copper, which slow the communication speeds possible within computers. Two Silicon Valley startups, Avicena and Ayar Labs, are doing something about that longstanding limit. If they succeed in their attempts to finally bring optical fiber all the way to the processor, it might not just accelerate computing—it might also remake it.

Both companies are developing fiber-connected chiplets, small chips meant to share a high-bandwidth connection with CPUs and other data-hungry silicon in a shared package. They are each ramping up production in 2023, though it may be a couple of years before we see a computer on the market with either product.

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