"Rambus has had a very interesting history, billions of dollars flowed in through high value licensing with the first versions of the company, you might call them Rambus 1.0 and 2.0,” said Jerome Nadel, senior vice president and CMO of Rambus. “The thing that held these technologies together was a licensing platform, from LED lighting to differential power analysis.”
It started out with high speed serial interface designs that were patented and the patents and technology licensed to a wide range of customers. Other technologies were then added to the licensing platform, creating a disparate set to IP. Acquisitions for Memory and Interface division and Rambus Security included the memory interconnect technology from Inphi that has been used to develop a family of buffer chips, as well as the Snowbush serial/deserialization IP from Semtec. Using those skills, Rambus has since developed interfaces for the latest GDDR6 graphics chips.
But there is also fundamental research into next generation systems and reducing the power consumption in data centres.
“We continue to develop emerging solutions. We work with companies like IBM and Microsoft on research programmes that they pay us for where we create IP that we can license, such as hybrid memory,” he said. “That’s an area where we model and characterise and build prototypes that become the next generation standards.”
Cloud computing requires large data centres and the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning means the role of buffers and faster interfaces becomes more and more important.
“As a data company we want to move data fast and keep data safe,” said Nadel. “For example, there’s ‘cold computing’ with Microsoft. We have a multiyear project on how systems work at 77K, and we have moved to building boards and products on this."