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CHIPS Articles: DARPA announces five-year, $1.5 billion effort to create transformative advances in electronics

DARPA announces five-year, $1.5 billion effort to create transformative advances in electronics
By CHIPS Magazine - April 9, 2018
The advent of digital electronics in the late 20th century drove worldwide economic growth and promoted immense technological and social change and increased workforce productivity. But the rapid advances in chip performance of the last 50 years are coming to an end with the limits of Moore’s Law. Current economic, geopolitical, and physics-based complications make the future of the electronics industry uniquely interesting at this moment,” DARPA said in a release.

To stimulate innovation DARPA combined a broad series of programs into the Electronics Resurgence Initiative last year and it is receiving an additional $75 million allocation in the FY18 budget. The initiative calls for ground-breaking new approaches to microsystems materials, designs, and architectures. Underscoring the importance of the initiative, the President’s budget for FY19 includes continued annual investments of $300 million over the next five years for ERI’s research efforts — potentially upwards of $1.5 billion over the initiative’s lifetime, according to DARPA.

To highlight interest and foster forward-thinking collaborations across the U.S. electronics community, DARPA is hosting the first annual Electronics Resurgence Initiative Summit July 23-25, 2018 in San Francisco, California. The three-day event will bring together senior representatives from the commercial sector, defense industrial base, academia and government. DARPA will announce the research teams selected to lead ERI’s six new “Page 3” programs, which aim to complement traditional scaling and ensure continued improvements in electronics performance. Attendees will hear keynote presentations from industry leaders, interspersed with detailed program discussions.

ERI Summit speakers are some of today’s most influential individuals in electronics, including John Hennessy, chairman of Alphabet; Gary Dickerson, president and CEO of Applied Materials, Inc.; Walden Rhines, president and CEO of Mentor, a Siemens Business; Aart de Geus, chairman and co-CEO of Synopsys; Bill Dally, chief scientist at NVIDIA and senior vice president of NVIDIA Research; and Mike Mayberry, CTO of Intel Corporation and senior vice president and managing director of Intel Labs.

Further presentations will detail ERI’s six “Page 3” programs, designed to fulfill the post-scaling predictions made by Gordon Moore on the third page of his seminal 1965 paper. These programs hope to answer three key questions:

- Can we dramatically lower the barriers to modern system-on-chip design and unleash a new era of circuit and system specialization and innovation?

- Can the integration of unconventional materials enhance conventional silicon circuits and continue the progress traditionally associated with scaling?

- Can we enjoy the benefits of specialized circuitry while still relying on general programming constructs through the proper software/hardware co-design?

ERI builds on DARPA’s established history of partnering with the commercial sector, including major U.S. chipmakers and leaders in semiconductor design. DARPA experts and their research partners will discuss the significant work already underway. Erica R.H. Fuchs, founding faculty director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative, will also discuss the role government funding can play in connecting organizations and creating an atmosphere of innovation.

“Given the size and complexity of the Initiative, the Summit aims to create a space that promotes cooperation and collaboration among its members,” said Bill Chappell, director of DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office (MTO), which oversees ERI.

To learn more about the first annual ERI Summit, visit: Registration opens May 1, 2018.

For more information about ERI and the six “Page 3” programs, visit:

Electronics Resurgence Initiative Summit July 23-25, 2018, San Francisco, California
Electronics Resurgence Initiative Summit July 23-25, 2018, San Francisco, California
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