SAN JOSE, Calif. – By 2027, mobile devices will sport all-digital radios and Gbit/second cellular modems powered by 16-core apps processors running at 5 GHz.
That’s just one of several predictions Broadcom Corp. discussed Thursday (Sept. 6) at a symposium honoring its co-founder and chief technologist Henry Samueli who won the 2012 Marconi Society Prize for his work in chip designs that led to the cable modem.
“Most of the predictions are just linear extrapolations, and you hope for the best, but the disruptive innovations are the ones that really change the industry,” said Samueli in a phone interview after the symposium. “I tried to be as realistic as I could and not too science fiction-y,” he said.
Among Broadcom's other predictions: Radios will hit terahertz frequencies with full digital sampling up to 6 GHz. Home gateways will hit 100 Gbit/s data rates handling multiple 8k x 4k video streams. Ethernet switches will enable mainstream 400 Gbit's rates and Tbit/s peaks.
“The biggest issue we all worry about is the end of Moore’s Law,” Samueli said. “I think we have a reasonable runway to get below 10 nm and that will carry us another 10-20 years, then someone along the line will need to invent something new and engineers just do that,” he said.
In the meantime, Samueli is not sweating the current capacity crunch at today’s bleeding edge 28 nm process. “We probably won’t ramp [28 nm products] until the end of next year, and TSMC and others claim they will have capacity issues sorted out by the end of the year,” he said.
Samueli spends most of his time these days fostering a culture of collaborative engineering at the company that now employs more than 11,000 people. At the technical level that involves “creating common [SoC] methodologies and design flows to make it easy for people to share technology across the company,” he said.
“We have proprietary databases where all our IP is checked in and logged, standards are adhered to and all the documentation needed to use it is available along with people available to answer questions,” he said. “We view that as a proprietary advantage,” he added.
Henry Samueli explored the 2027 horizon at a Broadcom symposium.