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2 nm technology as seen using transmission electron microscopy. Photo: Courtesy of IBM Research.

IBM announced today it has reached a milestone in semiconductor manufacturing, producing chips with wiring just 2 nanometers thick.

Why it matters: Chips with thinner wiring typically consume less power and boost performance, while also taking up less space, reducing cost. The IBM process is still a couple years from being ready for full-scale manufacturing.

With wiring this thin, IBM says it can fit 50 billion transistors into a chip the size of a human fingernail. Or, put another way two nanometers is smaller than the width of a single strand of human DNA.

  • IBM says that, compared to today's leading-edge chips with 7-nanometer wiring, the 2-nanometer chips can improve performance by 45% using the same amount of power, or use 75% less energy while maintaining the same performance level.

The big picture: The advance also comes amid increased interest in boosting American chip manufacturing, which is seen as necessary for both national security and economic competitiveness.

  • A global chip shortage has further highlighted the benefits of the U.S. having its own domestic capacity.
  • Intel has recently recommitted to continuing in-house chipmaking and vowed to invest billions at chipmaking plants in Arizona, New Mexico and Israel.

Meanwhile: IBM CEO Arvind Krishna is also releasing a new policy agenda that includes support for the Endless Frontier Act, a bill that would change the approach of the National Science Foundation to focus on helping bridge the gap between academic research and commercial technology.

What's next: IBM says it will work with chipmakers who want to use its 2-nanometer technology in their future manufacturing processes.

Go deeper: Computer chips are still "Made in USA"

Go deeper

Teachers across the U.S. protest laws restricting racism lessons

Thousands of teachers and other educators held protests across the U.S. Saturday against the actions of "at least 15 Republican-led states" that aim to restrict teaching about racism in class, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: There were demonstrations in at least 22 cities for the "Day of Action" to raise awareness about moves to limit students' exposure to critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system, per Axios' Russell Contreras.

Updated 6 hours ago - Health

Lawsuit challenging Houston Methodist's COVID vaccine mandate dismissed

Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit brought by 117 Houston Methodist staff over the hospital's policy requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: This is the first federal court ruling on a coronavirus vaccine mandate. Attorney Jared Woodfill, representing the plaintiffs, told KHOU 11 it's "the first battle in a long fight," as he vowed to file another lawsuit soon.

G7 leaders to announce plan to phase out gasoline cars

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks next to President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, England, on Saturday. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

G7 leaders are set to announce Sunday a range of measures to tackle climate change, including "ending almost all direct government support" for fossil fuels and phasing out gasoline and diesel cars.

Driving the news: The plan was outlined in a British government announcement Saturday, which states that the leaders will also agree to halting "all unabated coal as soon as possible."