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  • What do Rockets and GF Fab 8 Have in Common?

    An interesting thing happened during the driving tour of the GlobalFoundries Fab 8 in Malta, NY. We happened by an old structure with quite a bit of history. As it turns out, the “Malta Test Station”, a former US Army fuel and explosives testing facility, was the actual birthplace of the United States' Space & Missile programs. In fact, Hermes Road, one of the main access roads, is named for the Hermes Missile Program circa 1944.

    Article: What Will Happen to Nokia?-hermes-1-test-rockets.jpgArticle: What Will Happen to Nokia?-malta-missile-test-site.jpgArticle: What Will Happen to Nokia?-wernher-von-braun.jpg

    According to Wikipedia, after World War II we “borrowed” some German V-2 missile parts and the engineering team that invented them including Wernher von Braun. Wernher worked for the U.S. Army on ballistic missiles, then NASA where he was director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, and was later dubbed the “greatest rocket scientist in history”. Check out this guy’s resume:

    BornWernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun
    March 23, 1912
    Wirsitz, Posen Province, Prussia, Germany
    (now Wyrzysk, Piła County, Poland)
    DiedJune 16, 1977 (aged 65)
    Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
    Resting placeAlexandria
    NationalityGerman/American
    Alma materTechnical University of Berlin
    OccupationRocket engineer and designer, aerospace project manager
    Spouse(s)Maria Luise von Quistorp (m. 1947–77)
    ChildrenIris Careen von Braun
    Margrit Cecile von Braun
    Peter Constantine von Braun
    Parent(s)Magnus von Braun (1877–1972)
    Emmy von Quistorp (1886–1959)
    AwardsElliott Cresson Medal (1962)
    Wilhelm Exner Medal (1969)[1]
    National Medal of Science (1975)
    Military career
    AllegianceNazi Germany
    Service/branchSS
    Years of service1937–1945
    RankSturmbannführer, SS
    Battles/warsWorld War II
    AwardsKnights Cross of the War Merit Cross (1944)
    War Merit Cross, First Class with Swords (1943)
    Other workRocket engineer, NASA, Chief Architect of the Saturn V rocket of the Apollo manned moon missions, engineering program manager
    Back to the Fab 8 tour, Scott Jones and I got the VIP treatment. Scott not only has worked in fabs, he has built them, so he was my translator and chief question asker. Scott will be writing about this trip as well so you may want to read his observations and opinions here: “Global Foundries Visit – Part 1 – It’s All About Execution”.

    The clean room tour is always interesting. Since I have been through about a dozen of these around the world I have quite a few reference points and can tell how modern a facility it is, where they are in the production cycle, and how busy they are. Contrary to popular belief, the less people working inside a clean room the better and I do count people. I also look at the wafer transport system, how modern it is, how fast it goes, and how many wafers are flying around. They never talk about who the wafers belong to but in this case I already knew (AMD, both CPU and GPU, GPUs first). There are no secrets in Silicon Valley… Needless to say Malta did not disappoint in all categories above, not even close.

    GLOBALFOUNDRIES Achieves 14nm FinFET Technology Success for Next-Generation AMD Products

    “FinFET technology is expected to play a critical foundational role across multiple AMD product lines, starting in 2016,” said Mark Papermaster, senior vice president and chief technology officer at AMD. “GLOBALFOUNDRIES has worked tirelessly to reach this key milestone on its 14LPP process. We look forward to GLOBALFOUNDRIES' continued progress towards full production readiness and expect to leverage the advanced 14LPP process technology across a broad set of our CPU, APU, and GPU products.”

    Article: What Will Happen to Nokia?-amd-zen-quad-core-unit-block-diagram-640x360.jpg

    After Malta, Scott and I drove down to Burlington for a day at Fab 9 with presentations about the history of the fab, the RF and ASIC groups. I will wait for Scott to post his blog then add my two cents.

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