09 September 2009

Waseda University at Center of Efforts to Produce Super Green Processor Chip

If you think of computing and Japanese universities, University of Tokyo comes to mind as being the strongest--in some ways surpassing anything the US has (e.g., TRON OS embedded computing, GRAPE supercomputers, etc.).

However, some large Japanese electronics manufacturers have got behind a government-backed initiative to create an alternative CPU to Wintel. Suprisingly, this initiative is centered on Waseda University, an elite private institution.

Ironically, the end result, if it were to catch on with electronics manufacturers in Japan and the rest of Asia might actually compete more with the TRON project's embedded computing technology at cross-town rival, Todai (embedded TRON OS runs most Japanese electronics).

First below are excerpts and links to two articles giving details on the project and the chip. Last is an excerpt and link to an article that explains how the chip may face problems with manufacturers in others parts of Asia, such as Taiwan and China, a problem for Japan because Taiwan has eclipsed them in portable computing. At stake is the future of mobile and ubiquitous computing and IT, much of which is set to converge on 'info-appliances', which will replace conventional computers in our lives but will also require leaner energy use at the same time.

1. http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2249049/japan-spending-42m-develop

Japan spending $42m to develop solar-powered ‘super CPU’

Leading domestic companies to jointly work on chip aimed at challenging Intel’s dominance
Yvonne Chan in Hong Kong, BusinessGreen, 08 Sep 2009

A consortium of Japanese companies is developing a CPU for electronics that will use 70 per cent less energy than conventional chips and run on solar energy.

Electronic and IT giants Fujitsu, Toshiba, Panasonic, NEC and Hitachi, along with imaging specialist Canon, are among the firms that have agreed to work on the so-called ‘super CPU’. Their participation in the project will help ensure that standards for the chip, if realised, will be adopted in a broad range of consumer electronics.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is backing the initiative. It will provide $32m to $42m (£19.4m to £25.4m) in initial funding, according to Forbes magazine, which cited a Nikkei Business News report published last week.

2. http://www.forbes.com/2009/09/03/japan-chip-alliance-markets-technology-intel.html?partner=yahootix

Japan Fashions Super Chip
Vivian Wai-yin Kwok, 09.03.09, 07:00 AM EDT
To beat their common rival-Intel, Japanese chip producers are sitting down together to design a super CPU.

HONG KONG -- A new super central processing unit (CPU), jointly developed by Japan's big chip makers and funded by the Tokyo government, is coming up to challenge Intel.

Intel's ( INTC - news - people ) engineers might be imagining months of overtime just from hearing the list of allies behind the unprecedented Japanese coalition, which is aimed at inventing an easier and universal software programming across various devices.

The big names in the campaign include Fujitsu, Toshiba ( TOSBF.PK - news - people ), Panasonic, Renesas Technology, NEC ( NIPNY - news - people ), Hitachi ( HIT - news - people ) and Canon ( CAJ - news - people ), which all agreed to pool their resources together to create a new, standardized, power-saving central processing units (CPU) which could be used within the entire industry for a wide range of consumer electronics by the end of fiscal 2012, the evening edition of Nikkei Business News reported Thursday.

The super CPU project, supported by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, with an initial capital of 3-4 billion yen, will enable the allied Japanese manufacturers to challenge the dominant market share of Intel in the U.S.

Hironori Kasahara, professor of computer science at Waseda University, is the major designer of the Japan's super CPU. In the early development stages, each firm will produce its own CPU that is compatable with the innovative energy-saving software invented by Kasahara.

3. http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20090908PD210.html

Motherboard makers pessimistic about new CPU force from Japan
Monica Chen, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES [Tuesday 8 September 2009]

Taiwan-based motherboard makers hold a pessimistic attitude toward recent news that several Japan-based semiconductor players plan to form alliance to develop a new CPU architecture and cut off their heavy dependence on x86 CPUs, due to uncertainties in terms of the total costs of R&D manpower and funding.

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