The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Google have signed a cooperative research and development agreement to produce a new suite of chips that will support the development of nanotechnology and semiconductor devices.
Google will fund the initial cost of setting up production and will subsidize the first production run, while NIST, with university research partners, will design the circuitry for the chips. SkyWater Technology will manufacture the chips, created for measuring the performance of devices used in a range of advanced applications.
NIST reports that the circuit designs will be open source, allowing academic and small business researchers to use the chips without restriction or licensing fees. To that end, chip designs that are open source will support researchers who will be able to pursue new ideas without restriction and share data and device designs freely.
“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,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio. “This is a great example of how government, industry and academic researchers can work together to enhance U.S. leadership in this critically important industry.”
"Google has a long history of leadership in open-source,” said Will Grannis, CEO of Google Public Sector. “Moving to an open-source framework fosters reproducibility, which helps researchers from public and private institutions iterate on each other’s work. It also democratizes innovation in nanotechnology and semiconductor research.”
NIST also announced that it anticipates designing as many as 40 different chips optimized for different applications.
Access the full news announcement with more information on the chips via NIST.