SkyWater has received funding from DOD and is collaborating with Google on the development of open source design.
SkyWater Technology has announced it is receiving $15 million in funding from the Department of Defense (DOD) to facilitate open source design for its 90 nm process offering, part of the previously announced $27 million investment. To enable this initiative, SkyWater has partnered with Google, through Google Public Sector and company-wide engineering teams, to build on its commitment to open source silicon. SkyWater has also announced a partnership with Google to enable open source design of custom application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) on its 130 nm mixed-signal CMOS process through the open source SKY130 PDK.
SkyWater’s new commercial SKY90-FD open source offering is based on MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s 90 nm fully depleted silicon on insulator (FDSOI) CMOS process technology. Through this latest government funded program at SkyWater, innovation that is enabled by open source design is focused on commercial use of this technology.
According to Dr. Matthew Kay, DOD program manager for this project, “Investments in commercial endeavors such as the partnership between SkyWater and Google is another example of how the Department of Defense can leverage technology advancements within the open source community to effectively and efficiently improve our defensive posture for the future.”
The DOD is using many OSS (Open Source Software) programs which play a growing role in mission-critical systems and defense applications that must perform repeatedly and reliably. Open source accelerates innovation through cumulative efforts and fosters trust due to its transparency, which enables identification of design flaws and malicious code, something that is not always possible with proprietary software. This use of open source has greatly improved technology and furthered the state of the art in the defense of the United States.
Google has a long-standing history of supporting open source silicon as both a founding member of the RISC-V Foundation and the Linux Foundation’s CHIPS Alliance project, along with an active role in the Open Compute Foundation. The open source model taps into a talent pool of software engineers to design chips in code and run design simulations that test, optimize, and validate specific chip designs. As a result, chip designers are able to iterate and innovate faster, and they have more frequent tape-outs than previously realized through more traditional models. Google became involved in open silicon with the goal of driving down cost over time and reducing barriers to entry for hardware startups and small businesses.
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