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Look Ma, No Wires

In Sun scheme, chips communicate with capacitors

3 min read

12 November 2003�Everybody complains about the long wires on circuit boards that limit the speed of inter-chip communication. But, now engineers at Sun Microsystems Inc., (Santa Clara, Calif.) have done something about them. In fact, what they have done is to eliminate the need for them entirely.

Sun�s solution, presented 23 September at the IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference (San Jose, Calif.), is to put the chips close enough to one another so that they can communicate directly, without using wires at all. Called proximity communication, the technique is the brainchild of Sun vice president Ivan E. Sutherland, best known for cofounding Evans and Sutherland, a groundbreaking computer graphics company, back in the late 1960s.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan
LightGreen

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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