IBM Invests Three Billion Dollars for Research and Development

September 30, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. miniature /ˈmɪn iə tʃər, -ˌtʃʊər, ˈmɪn ə tʃər/ (adj.) – referring to a very small version of something
Example: My brother liked playing with miniature cars when he was little.

2. conventional /kənˈvɛn ʃə nl/ (adj.) – being traditional or ordinary
Example: Having a computer at home is conventional in our country.

3. speculate /ˈspɛkyəˌleɪt/ (v.) – to guess about something
Example: The authorities speculate that the company is doing something illegal.

4. augment /ɔgˈmɛnt/ (v.) – to grow in number or in size
Example: The foundation solicited donations to augment its budget.

5. patent /ˈpætnt/ (n.) – a right issued by the government that allows a person or a company to exclusively produce, use, or sell a product
Example: Only the company that holds the patent can sell the product.


Read the text below.
International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation announced that it will be allotting three billion dollars to research on and develop next-generation semiconductors and support new forms of cloud computing and data systems.

This initiative has two main objectives. First, the computer giant aims to make miniature versions of the conventional semiconductors. Second, IBM plans to develop alternative chip technologies that no longer use silicon. If these objectives were met, the limitations of the semiconductor chips would be reduced.

Today, a semiconductor is usually 22 nanometers long. IBM will manufacture new tools and use new techniques to reduce the size of the semiconductor to only seven nanometers. Because smaller chips have more limitations, the company will develop possible ways to augment solutions for this problem.

IBM will also be featuring data systems with neurosynaptic computing, a system that works like a human brain. In addition, the company will use quantum computing that will allow simultaneous computations even in different states.

IBM researchers and engineers in Albany and Yorktown, New York, Almaden, California, and Zurich, Switzerland will team up on the said project. The company will focus its research on fields like carbon nanoelectronics, photonics [foh-TON-iks], new memory technologies, and quantum and cognitive computing architectures.

Recent news speculates that IBM will sell its chip business to another company. But with the investment, the company shows that it found a new way to profit from the chip business. With its research and development plans, IBM hopes to create profitable patents and intellectual property.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Should IBM invest more on futuristic technology than on technology that can be used today? Why or why not?
·         If given the chance, what technological field would you want to research on and develop? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What is the importance of technology to our everyday lives?
·         What would happen if scientists stopped discovering and reinventing technology?

September 30, 2014