Scientists Stack Processor Cores on Top of Each Other

Future microprocessors could extend the idea of 3D transistors to entire 3D cores.

Scientists at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) said they have developed a chip that can integrate three or more processors that are stacked on top of each other. Today’s processing cores are aligned horizontally.

According to Yusuf Leblebici, director of the Microelectronics Systems Laboratory (LSM) at EPFL, the processors are vertically connected through “several hundreds” of “very thin copper microtubes”, commonly referred to as Through-Silicon-Vias (TSVs). “It’s the logical next step in electronics development, because it allows a large increase in terms of efficiency,” Leblebici said. He noted that more than 900 TSVs are “functioning simultaneously”.

“This superposition reduces the distance between circuits, and thus considerably improves the speed of data exchange,” added Yuksel Temiz, a researcher at LSM.

While presented at the 2012 Interconnection Network Architectures Workshop in Paris, Leblebici did not reveal further features of the technology, but noted that it is not ready for mass-production. At this time, he wants to make his research available to “a number of academic research teams for further development, before being commercialized.”

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