SANDIA CREATES COMPANY FOR MICROSYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY

October 13, 2000

COMMERCIAL NEWS

Albuquerque, N.M. — In a “bold and important move,” Sandia National Laboratories has spun off a private company, MEMX, Inc., to commercialize Labs-developed microsystems technology.

Sandia, a Department of Energy national laboratory, is recognized as a leader in the field of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and microsystems technologies. MEMS are complex machines with micron-size features.

The new company will initially focus on producing optical switches for the telecommunications industry using SUMMiT V, an advanced five-level polysilicon surface micromachining MEMS technology that produces more reliable and complex devices than previously possible with less advanced techniques.

Al Romig, Sandia vice president and chief technical officer, says the spin-off of this new company is a “bold and important move” and falls in line with Sandia’s core mission.

“This step is important for the commercialization of MEMS and fits in with Sandia’s primary mission – national security, says Romig. “We believe commercialization of our MEMS technology is critical for us to achieve our national security mission. National security decision makers are conservative. They want to see the technology widely used in applications like cars or television before they consider it for weapons. Getting the technology out of the labs and into commercial applications will give us the confidence needed to deploy it in critical defense applications.”

David Williams, director of Sandia’s Microsystems Science, Technology, and Components Center, says MEMX will be the “cornerstone” of the new microsystems industry that Sandia and others are striving to create. One of the first steps is to have a company, like MEMX, commercialize the Labs’ MEMS technology.

“Commercialization of any emerging disruptive technology is a challenge,” Williams says. “We believe that small and entrepreneurial companies are key to getting the technology into widespread applications. MEMX will play a critical role in achieving this objective.”

Paul McWhorter, one of the company founders who has been deputy director of the Microsystems Science, Technology and Components Center, anticipates considerable interest in the optical switches due largely to the explosion in demand for bandwidth created by the Internet.

“Optical switching applications are a driving force in the MEMS arena right now,” McWhorter says. “We believe Sandia’s SUMMiT V technology is ideal for meeting not only today’s need for high-performance optical switches, but for the needs of next generation higher performance systems.”

McWhorter predicts growth in demand for e-commerce and multimedia applications over the Internet will continue for at least 20 years. Companies such as Lucent, Nortel, Cisco, Marconi and Corning are racing to achieve optical routers and other optical switch systems to meet this demand.

“A key challenge is that traditional techniques for performing optical switching can’t keep up with the explosion in demand,” he says. “Optical switches present the ‘speed bumps’ on the information superhighway.”

Significant progress has been made in increasing the amount of data that can be pushed down a fiber; the amount of data that can be transferred is doubling every eight months. Switching this data is traditionally done by converting the optical signals to electrical signals, switching them electronically, and then converting them back to optical signals. The fundamental limitation: today’s electronic switches destroy the wide bandwidth advantage of the optical fiber. Optical switches eliminate this problem.

“Because they are batch-fabricated using standard integrated circuit manufacturing techniques, MEMS offer an affordable technique for creating large arrays of high-performance mirrors on a single silicon chip,” McWhorter says. “Standard switches used in fiber optics can cost up to $1,000 per channel. If you use 1,000 channels, the cost is $1 million. Using MEMS technology, you can put 1,000 mirrors on one chip, which can be built for just a few dollars.”

MEMX has licensed Sandia’s unique intellectual property, and company founders plan to advance the technology aggressively.

While the initial focus of the company will be on optical switching, McWhorter says the company will broaden its product line later. He anticipates “a lot of growth in the first year.” The company is also expected not only to be a supplier of commercial technology, but also a potential supplier back to Sandia for national security applications.

Joining McWhorter in the MEMX initiative are Sandia researchers Jeff Sniegowski, Sam Miller, and Steve Rogers. Sniegowski and Rogers developed the five-level MEMS technology.

MEMX will be headquartered in Albuquerque, N.M. The company will use manufacturing facilities at Sandia’s Microelectronics Development Laboratory (MDL) to produce its first prototype, but will quickly build its own fabrication facility.

MEMX was organized by TMA Ventures of Denver, Colo., an enterprise specializing in the commercialization of high technology. Sherman McCorkle, president of Technology Ventures Corporation of Albuquerque, also played an instrumental role in the founding of the company. Michael McIntosh and Patti Pickell of TMA Ventures will join McWhorter as the company’s start-up management team. McWhorter will be MEMX’s chief technical officer. Start-up financing is being provided by Investco and Council Capital Management, LLC, both of Nashville, Tenn. Angelo Salamone of Sandia’s Technology Transfer Office, Gerald Grafe and John Hohimer of Sandia’s Legal Office, and Jay Jakubczak of Sandia’s Intelligent Micromachine Department negotiated the license with MEMX.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

============================================================

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Microsoft, Nvidia Launch Cloud HPC

November 20, 2019

Nvidia and Microsoft have joined forces to offer a cloud HPC capability based on the GPU vendor’s V100 Tensor Core chips linked via an Infiniband network scaling up to 800 graphics processors. The partners announced Read more…

By George Leopold

Hazra Retiring from Intel Data Center Group, Successor Unknown

November 20, 2019

This article is an update to a story published earlier today. Rajeeb Hazra, corporate VP of Intel’s Data Center Group and GM for the Enterprise and Government Group, is retiring after more than 24 years at the compa Read more…

By Doug Black

Jensen Huang’s SC19 – Fast Cars, a Strong Arm, and Aiming for the Cloud(s)

November 20, 2019

We’ve come to expect Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s annual SC keynote to contain stunning graphics and lively bravado (with plenty of examples) in support of GPU-accelerated computing. In recent years, AI has joined the s Read more…

By John Russell

SC19 Student Cluster Competition: Know Your Teams

November 19, 2019

I’m typing this live from Denver, the location of the 2019 Student Cluster Competition… and, oh yeah, the annual SC conference too. The attendance this year should be north of 13,000 people, with the majority attende Read more…

By Dan Olds

Top500: US Maintains Performance Lead; Arm Tops Green500

November 18, 2019

The 54th Top500, revealed today at SC19, is a familiar list: the U.S. Summit (ORNL) and Sierra (LLNL) machines, offering 148.6 and 94.6 petaflops respectively, remain in first and second place. The only new entrants in t Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Data Management – The Key to a Successful AI Project

 

Five characteristics of an awesome AI data infrastructure

[Attend the IBM LSF & HPC User Group Meeting at SC19 in Denver on November 19!]

AI is powered by data

While neural networks seem to get all the glory, data is the unsung hero of AI projects – data lies at the heart of everything from model training to tuning to selection to validation. Read more…

ScaleMatrix and Nvidia Launch ‘Deploy Anywhere’ DGX HPC and AI in a Controlled Enclosure

November 18, 2019

HPC and AI in a phone booth: ScaleMatrix and Nvidia announced today at the SC19 conference in Denver a joint offering that puts up to 13 petaflops of Nvidia DGX-1 compute power in an air conditioned, water-cooled ScaleMa Read more…

By Doug Black

Hazra Retiring from Intel Data Center Group, Successor Unknown

November 20, 2019

This article is an update to a story published earlier today. Rajeeb Hazra, corporate VP of Intel’s Data Center Group and GM for the Enterprise and Governm Read more…

By Doug Black

Jensen Huang’s SC19 – Fast Cars, a Strong Arm, and Aiming for the Cloud(s)

November 20, 2019

We’ve come to expect Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s annual SC keynote to contain stunning graphics and lively bravado (with plenty of examples) in support of GPU Read more…

By John Russell

Top500: US Maintains Performance Lead; Arm Tops Green500

November 18, 2019

The 54th Top500, revealed today at SC19, is a familiar list: the U.S. Summit (ORNL) and Sierra (LLNL) machines, offering 148.6 and 94.6 petaflops respectively, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ScaleMatrix and Nvidia Launch ‘Deploy Anywhere’ DGX HPC and AI in a Controlled Enclosure

November 18, 2019

HPC and AI in a phone booth: ScaleMatrix and Nvidia announced today at the SC19 conference in Denver a joint offering that puts up to 13 petaflops of Nvidia DGX Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first plann Read more…

By John Russell

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutt Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19’s HPC Impact Showcase Chair: AI + HPC a ‘Speed Train’

November 16, 2019

This year’s chair of the HPC Impact Showcase at the SC19 conference in Denver is Lori Diachin, who has spent her career at the spearhead of HPC. Currently deputy director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Exascale Computing Project (ECP), Diachin is also... Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer-Powered AI Tackles a Key Fusion Energy Challenge

August 7, 2019

Fusion energy is the Holy Grail of the energy world: low-radioactivity, low-waste, zero-carbon, high-output nuclear power that can run on hydrogen or lithium. T Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Intel Confirms Retreat on Omni-Path

August 1, 2019

Intel Corp.’s plans to make a big splash in the network fabric market for linking HPC and other workloads has apparently belly-flopped. The chipmaker confirmed to us the outlines of an earlier report by the website CRN that it has jettisoned plans for a second-generation version of its Omni-Path interconnect... Read more…

By Staff report

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell Ramps Up HPC Testing of AMD Rome Processors

October 21, 2019

Dell Technologies is wading deeper into the AMD-based systems market with a growing evaluation program for the latest Epyc (Rome) microprocessors from AMD. In a Read more…

By John Russell

Rise of NIH’s Biowulf Mirrors the Rise of Computational Biology

July 29, 2019

The story of NIH’s supercomputer Biowulf is fascinating, important, and in many ways representative of the transformation of life sciences and biomedical res Read more…

By John Russell

Xilinx vs. Intel: FPGA Market Leaders Launch Server Accelerator Cards

August 6, 2019

The two FPGA market leaders, Intel and Xilinx, both announced new accelerator cards this week designed to handle specialized, compute-intensive workloads and un Read more…

By Doug Black

When Dense Matrix Representations Beat Sparse

September 9, 2019

In our world filled with unintended consequences, it turns out that saving memory space to help deal with GPU limitations, knowing it introduces performance pen Read more…

By James Reinders

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This