Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Electronics and Microchips

Technologies based on the manipulation of electrons and, increasingly, photons

Showing 102 results for Electronics RSS
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).
Only a few decades ago, finding a particular channel on the radio or television meant dialing a knob by hand, making small tweaks and adjustments to hone in on the right signal. Of course, we now take such fine tuning for granted, simply pressing a button to achieve the same effect. This convenience is enabled by radio frequency synthesis, the generation of accurate signal frequencies from a single reference oscillator.
First announced in June 2017, DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) is a multi-year, upwards of $1.5 billion investment in jumpstarting innovation and collaboration across the U.S. electronics community to address an array of long foreseen challenges to Moore’s Law. To kickoff this community-wide effort, DARPA is hosting its first annual ERI Summit from July 23-25 in San Francisco, CA. The three-day event will bring together leading voices from across the electronics community–including Alphabet, Applied Materials, Intel, Synopsys, Cadence, Mentor Graphics, NVIDIA, and IBM–to address challenges and opportunities for the next half century of electronics progress.
A once highly manual process, circuit design has been transformed by the advent of electronic design automation (EDA) tools and modular design methodologies. Despite continuing advances in automation technologies, the demand for increasingly complex System-on-Chip (SoC) platforms has shown no sign of slowing. Today’s SoCs incorporate billions of transistors with miles of electrical wiring that are integrated within a tiny chip.
The general-purpose computer has remained the dominant computing architecture for the last 50 years, driven largely by the relentless pace of Moore’s Law—the transistor-scaling that has allowed for a half-century of rapid progress in electronics. As this trajectory shows signs of slowing, however, it has become increasingly more challenging to achieve performance gains from generalized hardware, setting the stage for a resurgence in specialized architectures.