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Biden Administration Weighs Further Restrictions on AI Chip Technology to China Biden Administration Weighs Further Restrictions on AI Chip Technology to China
The Biden administration is contemplating additional restrictions on China’s access to advanced chip technology used for AI, Bloomberg News reported on... Biden Administration Weighs Further Restrictions on AI Chip Technology to China

The Biden administration is contemplating additional restrictions on China’s access to advanced chip technology used for AI, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. The proposed measures aim to limit China’s utilization of a cutting-edge chip architecture known as gate-all-around (GAA).

GAA is a sophisticated transistor architecture that enhances chip performance and reduces power consumption, making it crucial for the development of advanced AI applications. The United States has been actively working to restrict Beijing’s access to advanced AI chips, such as those designed by Nvidia, amid concerns that China might leverage this technology to strengthen its military capabilities.

The exact scope of the potential rule is still under discussion, and it remains uncertain when officials will finalize their decision. “The new controls are part of an effort by allied countries to each impose separately controls they had agreed to several years ago during Wassenaar Arrangement multilateral regime meetings but that were not ultimately approved because Russia blocked the consensus-based regime from publishing the controls,” explained Washington lawyer Kevin Wolf, a former Commerce official.

Wolf highlighted that in March, the UK implemented controls over technology for integrated circuits with “Gate all-around Field-Effect Transistor” (GAAFET) structures, which are typically used for advanced node integrated circuits. “The U.S. and other allies are thus expected to impose this GAAFET and many other earlier-agreed-upon controls this summer,” he added.

But, the rule is not yet finalized due to industry officials’ criticism of the initial version as overly broad. It remains unclear whether the ban would restrict China’s ability to develop its own GAA chips or prevent U.S. chipmakers and other overseas companies from selling their products to Chinese firms.

Leading semiconductor companies, including Nvidia, Intel, and Advanced Micro Devices, or AMD, along with chip manufacturers Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Samsung, plan to commence mass production of chips with the GAA design within the next year, according to the report.

Nvidia and Intel declined to comment, while other companies did not immediately respond to Reuters‘ requests for comments. The U.S. Department of Commerce also declined to comment. Stricter export restrictions on advanced semiconductors to China have already impacted chipmakers’ positions. Companies like Intel and Qualcomm have reported that their sales would suffer after the U.S. revoked some of their export licenses for a customer in China.

Also, the Bloomberg report indicated that there have been preliminary discussions about limiting exports of high-bandwidth memory (HBM) chips. HBM chips, such as those manufactured by South Korea’s SK Hynix and Micron Technology, accelerate AI applications and are used by companies like Nvidia.

With this news, the global semiconductor industry is watching closely as any new measures could significantly impact the sector and international trade relations.

ODSC Team

ODSC Team

ODSC gathers the attendees, presenters, and companies that are shaping the present and future of data science and AI. ODSC hosts one of the largest gatherings of professional data scientists with major conferences in USA, Europe, and Asia.

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