Silicon Wafer - nCube 2 Silicon Wafer - Supercomputer, Parallel, Hypercube, Artwork


Availability: 1 in stock

About this Artwork:

This listing is for an artwork that features a rare nCube 2 supercomputer silicon wafer. This nCube 2 silicon wafer was produced in 1990. There are about 32 microprocessors on this 4 inch wafer. The dies are fairly large for the time at about 14mm square. Near the edges you will see partial chips. The wafer would be scored and diced into individual dice, or chips.

nCube was founded in 1983 to compete in the hypercube parallel supercomputer market.  The first machine was called the nCube 10 for its ability to create an order-ten hypercube. It could support over a 1,000 processors in a single system. Advanced for its time, it could also support the partitioning of the system in sub-nodes to be allocated to different users and workloads. In 1985, the first generation of the nCube system used a custom set of chips for each processor. Introduced in 1989, the next generation, nCube 2, produced a complete processor on a single chip. The nCube 2 was over three times faster than its predecessor, running at 7 MIPS and 3.5 MFLOPS. The largest nCube 2 system was installed at Sandia National Labs for nuclear research and development. This system had 1024 nodes and reach reached speeds of 1.91 GFLOPS. In the late 90's, nCube's focus became Video On-Demand streaming servers, technology, and applications.


The artwork is framed in an 11"x14" black shadow box frame, with glass. All framing materials are acid-free. A narrative about the artwork that includes the artist’s signature is placed on the back of the artwork.

About Making Computer Chips:

Computer chips start out as ordinary sand, which is silicon dioxide. However, the silicon must be made very, very pure. The first step is to melt the sand, in a furnace that reaches about 3200o F, and mix with carbon. This first purification process creates 99% pure Silicon; a common output is Silicon Carbide. The Silicon Carbide is processed in a trichlorosilane distillation method to create 99.9999% pure silicon called polycrystalline silicon. The polysilicon is broken up into chunks. These chunks are melted in a crucible at about 2500o F. A silicon crystal seed is dipped in molten silicon and slowly drawn out to create a cylinder of silicon. These silicon cylinders are some of the purest crystals on the planet. Once the silicon cylinder is grown to the desired diameter, it is sawed into wafers. These wafers are polished to achieve a very flat mirror surface. Transistors, and other microelectronic parts, are built on the polished wafer in layers in a process called etching. The wafer is then sawed into its individual chips. Each chip is mounted in an electronic package that serves to protect it and connect it to the outside world. It has been said that computer chips are the greatest value-added product in the world. We essentially take a pile of sand and change it into thousands of dollars worth of computer chips.


Please note:  The look of the artifacts in the artworks may vary, each piece is unique.