NIST and Google Partner to Develop Open Source Chips


Researchers will be able to use the chips without restriction or licensing fees.

Google and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have signed a research and development agreement for production of open source chips.

The chips will be manufactured by SkyWater Technology in Minnesota, according to the announcement. “Google will pay the initial cost of setting up production and will subsidize the first production run. NIST, with university research partners, will design the circuitry for the chips. The circuit designs will be open source, allowing academic and small business researchers to use the chips without restriction or licensing fees.” As many as 40 different chip designs are planned, which will be optimized for different applications.

 “The SkyWater foundry will produce the chips in the form of 200-mm discs of patterned silicon, called wafers,” the announcement says, and the first production run will be distributed to leading U.S. universities. “Giving researchers access to chips in this format will allow them to prototype designs and emerging technologies that, if successful, can be integrated into production more quickly, thus speeding the transfer of technology from lab to market.” 

“By creating a new and affordable domestic supply of chips for research and development, this collaboration aims to unleash the innovative potential of researchers and startups across the nation,” says Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio.


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