Google Inks strikes deal with US tech agency to design chips for researchers and startups

Peripheral components News

Thomas Grillon

The National Institute of Standards and Technology and Google have signed a cooperative research and development agreement that aims to provide “a new affordable national supply of chips for research and development,” according to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of NIST Laurie Locacio.

The U.S. government has signed an agreement with Google to develop and manufacture chips that are expected to reduce costs associated with the development of nanotechnology and semiconductor devices, the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced on Tuesday. .

Semiconductor maker SkyWater Technology will produce the 200-millimeter wafers at its foundry in Bloomington, Minnesota, which universities and other buyers can then “slice into thousands of individual chips at their own processing facilities,” according to a statement. from the NIST. NIST said Google would pay the initial cost of setting up production and subsidize the first production run.

A NIST spokesperson said that under any agency agreement, NIST provides personnel, facilities, equipment and other resources, but does not provide funds to collaborators.

The circuitry for the chips will be designed by NIST in cooperation with academic research partners including the University of Michigan, University of Maryland, George Washington University, Brown University and Carnegie Mellon University. The resulting circuit designs will be open source, allowing academic researchers and small businesses to use the chips without restriction or licensing fees.

“By creating a new affordable national supply of chips for research and development, this collaboration aims to unlock the innovation potential of researchers and startups across the country,” said Laurie Locascio, Under Secretary of Commerce for standards and technology and director of NIST, in a press release. .

Although this collaboration was planned before the recent passage of the CHIPS Act, Locascio said it was an example of how government, industry and academia can work together to build American leadership. “in this critically important industry”.

Describing the role the resulting chips will play, NIST said today’s microelectronic devices are made up of components that are “stacked like layers in a cake, with the bottom layer being a semiconductor chip.” The agreement with Google will provide a “lower layer chip” with specialized structures to measure and test the performance of components placed on it, NIST said in the release. The agency predicted that up to 40 chips will be optimized for different applications.

“Moving to an open source framework promotes reproducibility, which helps researchers in public and private institutions to iterate on the work of others. It also democratizes innovation in nanotechnology and semiconductor research,” Will Grannis, CEO of Google Public Sector, said in the release.

    Learn more about Thomas Grillo

Thomas Grillon

Thomas Grillo covers chips and the Internet of Things for CRN. He has covered residential and commercial real estate for The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Boston Business Journal, Banker & Tradesman and Lynn’s Daily Item. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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