Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Arlington, VA, United States (4E) – The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) continues to bolster research that seeks to find ways to negate the limitations to miniaturization noted by “Moore’s Law” that affect the speed and computing power generated by miniscule transistors.
First announced in June 2017, DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) is a $1.5 billion investment in the future of domestic electronic systems. DARPA recently activated the second phase of ERi’s research priorities.
Consisting of several ongoing DARPA programs, ERI addresses long-foreseen obstacles to Moore’s Law and the challenges impeding 50 years of rapid progress in electronics advancement. The next phase of ERI will focus on further enmeshing the technology needs and capabilities of the defense community with the commercial and manufacturing realities of the electronics industry.
ERI Phase II aims to address three key issues. These key issues are the need to support domestic manufacturing options and enable them to develop differentiated capabilities for diverse needs; a demand to invest in chip security and a desire to create new connections between ERI programs, as well as to demonstrate the resulting technologies in defense applications.
Moore’s Law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit (IC) doubles every two years. The observation is named after Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, whose 1965 paper described a doubling every year in the number of components per IC.
“Through ERI, DARPA is seeding the foundation of a more robust, secure, and heavily automated electronics industry to move us from an era of generalized hardware to specialized systems,” said Dr. Bill Chappell, director of DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office (MTO).
“The U.S. electronics industry has provided global leadership in the electronics arena since the invention of the transistor. The first phase of ERI was a major investment into the research and development required to stay competitive by exploring specialization with novel circuit materials, architectures, and designs.
“ERI Phase II seeks to build on that investment and push us toward a domestic semiconductor manufacturing sector that can implement specialized circuits; demonstrate that those circuits can be trusted through the supply chain and are built with security in mind; and are ultimately available to both DoD and commercial sector users.”
ERI Phase II will create unique and differentiated domestic manufacturing capabilities. It will explore the addition of complementary and alternative vectors to traditional CMOS scaling.
The first program is Photonics in the Package for Extreme Scalability (PIPES), which will explore ways to bring the benefits of optical scaling directly to chips. PIPES will also work to establish a domestic ecosystem that facilitates long-term access to these new photonics capabilities for both commercial and DoD users.
By significantly reducing the energy demands and challenges associated with moving data across digital microelectronics, the program could reduce the effort required to tie hundreds of GPUs together, and enable massive parallelism capable of supporting current and emerging data-intensive applications like machine learning, large-scale emulation, and advanced sensors.
ERI Phase II will also investigate ways to increase the connections between the various ERI efforts – from fundamental research programs to technology application programs – as well as emerging and future applications of ERI technologies developed across all sectors to defense-specific systems.
For the remainder of 2018, DARPA plans to announce additional ERI Phase II investments relevant to issues highlighted at the ERI Summit. Potential areas of exploration include enabling the traceability of electronics components – from design to use – and the development of electronics that can enforce protections for security and privacy.
Article – All Rights Reserved.
Provided by FeedSyndicate