NY Natives Getting Restless with Nanotech Promises

The new $4.4 billion investment by tech giants in NY's nanotech future has some wondering whether it can be believed

2 min read
NY Natives Getting Restless with Nanotech Promises

The State of New York has been aggressively pursuing the promise of an economic boom brought on by nanotechnology for a decade now. There’s even a Web site called New York Loves Nanotech, on which the more than US $13 billion that has been invested in nanotech within the state is glorified.

Despite the love affair the state has with nanotech, it has learned that nanotech businesses can be fickle lovers, prodding jealous inquiries into the allegiances of at least one of the corporate interests the state has been trying to seduce.

So, while the announcement this week that Intel, IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, TSMC, and Samsung will be investing $4.4 billion over the next five years in the state, creating thousands of jobs, has at least the local media hopeful, they remain skeptical.

The quid pro quo, if you will, in this deal, is that New York State needs to invest “$400 million in the SUNY College for Nanoscale and Science Engineering (CNSE) in Albany, including $100 million for energy efficiency and low cost energy allowances” over the next five years. The promise of nearly 7000 jobs makes it seem like a good deal for New York. Here is how the high-tech jobs will break down:

  • 800 at CNSE Albany NanoTech Complex
  • 950 at IBM-Yorktown Heights and IBM-East Fishkill
  • 450 at SUNY Institute of Technology (SUNYIT) in Utica
  • 300 at CNSE's Smart System Technology & Commercialization Center in Canandaigua

Now I don’t know how government types look at the prospect of 7000 new jobs in their state, whether they concern themselves over how many of those jobs will actually go to currently unemployed residents of the state, but perhaps in the long run it’s not as important as having 7000 people (current residents or not) with new, high-tech jobs buying things at the local retail stores.

Anyway, I hope it all works out for the parties concerned, or else I am afraid the locals are going to progress from skeptical to bitter.

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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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