The microelectronics community is facing an array of long foreseen obstacles to Moore’s Law, the transistor scaling that has allowed for 50 years of rapid progress in electronics. Current economic, geopolitical, and physics-based complications make the future of the electronics industry uniquely interesting at this moment. To jump-start innovation in the field, DARPA announced in June 2017 that it would coalesce a broad series of programs into the Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI). ERI, which received an additional $75 million allocation in the FY18 budget, calls for innovative 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.
To kick off this initiative and foster forward-looking collaborations across the U.S.-centric electronics community, DARPA is hosting the first annual Electronics Resurgence Initiative Summit from July 23-25, 2018 in San Francisco, California. The three-day event will bring together those most impacted by the coming inflection in Moore’s Law, including senior representatives from the commercial sector, defense industrial base, academia, and government. DARPA will begin the event by announcing 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. During the days that follow, attendees will hear keynote presentations from industry leaders, interspersed with detailed program discussions.
ERI Summit speakers are some of today’s most influential figures 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 seek 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. Attendees will have an opportunity to hear from Agency experts and their research partners about the significant work already underway in DARPA’s electronics-focused programs. 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. “Over the coming years, ERI will continue to evolve in scope and scale, and the need for continued partnership and participation from the community will only increase. Together, we will explore the future of electronics and the impact on national defense that this critical sector plays. The Summit seeks to foster a dialogue around existing and emerging ideas that can help steer the future direction of U.S. semiconductor innovation, in addition to highlighting current opportunities within ERI’s critical research programs.”
To learn more about the first annual ERI Summit, please visit: http://www.eri-summit.com/. Registration will open May 1, 2018.
For more information on ERI and the six “Page 3” programs, visit: https://www.darpa.mil/work-with-us/electronics-resurgence-initiative
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