Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Microchips and Components

Relating to miniaturized electronic circuitry and its components and features

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From August 18-20, DARPA will host its third Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) Summit and Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) Symposium. The annual event brings together leaders from across the electronics ecosystem – spanning government, defense, academia, and industry – to foster collaboration and share technical progress on DARPA’s five-year, $1.5 billion dollar investment into the advancement of the U.S. semiconductor industry.
July 23-25, 2018,
DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office is hosting the first annual Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) Summit. 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, to promote collaboration and cooperation on shaping the future direction of U.S. semiconductor innovation. The event will also highlight progress and opportunities within DARPA’s ERI research programs.
It can cost up to $100 million and take more than two years for a large team of engineers to design custom integrated circuits for specific tasks, such as synchronizing the activity of unmanned aerial vehicles or the real-time conversion of raw radar data into tactically useful 3-D imagery. This is why Defense Department engineers often turn to inexpensive and readily available general-purpose circuits, and then rely on software to make those circuits run the specialized operations they need.
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. 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. Today’s specialized, application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) — hardware customized for a specific application — offer limited flexibility and are costly to design, fabricate, and program.
Next-generation intelligent systems supporting Department of Defense (DoD) applications like artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, shared spectrum communication, electronic warfare, and radar require processing efficiency that is orders of magnitude beyond what is available through current commercial electronics. Reaching the performance levels required by these DoD applications however will require developing highly complex system-on-chip (SoC) platforms that leverage the most advanced integrated circuit technologies.