Late last month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a partnership with Ericsson, IBM, Intel, and Samsung to support the manufacturing and design of the next generation of semiconductors. The nearly $50 million partnership aims to invest in projects that encourage science and engineering researchers to apply a holistic, “co-design” approach to the way they develop semiconductors. Co-design approaches simultaneously consider the device/system performance, manufacturability, recyclability, and impact on the environment. Taking this design approach forces researchers to think of the whole lifecycle of a new technology, converging essential elements of the process into a single integrated process.
This program will hopefully alleviate the skyrocketing costs of cars and other chip-based products. These increases are due to a nationwide shortage in semiconductors, further complicated by the global pandemic. While demand for chip-based products remains high in the U.S., only about 10% of the global supply of chips is produced nationally. Investments made through this partnership will help address the problem by catalyzing research and innovation and leading to breakthroughs in semiconductor and microelectronics technologies on which these highly demanded devices rely.
“Future semiconductors and microelectronics will require transdisciplinary research spanning materials, devices, and systems, as well as the engagement of the full spectrum of talent in the academic and industrial sectors,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “Partnerships such as this are essential to inform research needs, spur innovation, accelerate the translation of results to the market, and prepare the future workforce.”
You can read more about the partnership and its goals on the NSF website.
In 2013, the Computing Community Consortium (CCC), coupled with NSF and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), organized a workshop Convergence of Software Assurance Methodologies and Trustworthy Semiconductor Design and Manufacture (SA+TS). The event aimed to bring together academic and industry experts from both the programming language and semiconductor design/manufacture communities to share and discuss challenges to securing the semiconductor manufacturing process and strategies. You can find the final report here.