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Friday, June 10, 2005

Hewlett-Packard: Embracing Failure

Two articles from Nanotechnology Now recently caught my attention. The first was a short article from the EETimes talking about several futuristic technologies which might help solve the interconnect bottleneck in chip design. The article addressed carbon nanotubes, optical interconnects, spin-wave buses and molecular wires. It went on to say that the latter -- molecular wires -- would most likely represent the first "inter-connect" device of the nanotechnology era.

I think they are right. I say this because of even more recent developments coming out of Hewlett-Packard. According to this article, HP is seeking to change the paradigm of computer chip design. If it is successful, HP will have created an artchitecture that will work in the presence of defects. This is a huge develoment! As circuits continue to get smaller and smaller, it is becoming increasing difficult (and very, very expensive) for the semiconductor industry to build defect-free circuits. If HP's technology works, it will not only have designed a smaller, powerful circuit -- in the form of its "crossbar latch" technology -- it will have created a new design and manufacturing paradigm that doesn't need to worry about how manufacturing defects might disrupt the circuit because it will simply go around them.

In this sense, HP is not only embracing failure, it is enveloping failure -- and it could be a huge recipe for success.