As part of the previously announced $27 million commitment, SkyWater Technological (NASDAQ: SKYT), today announced it has received $15 million from the Department of Defense (DOD) to support open source design for its 90 nm process offering. Through its dedication to open source silicon, SkyWater has teamed up with Google through the Google Public Sector and corporate engineering teams to support this endeavour. The open source SKY130 PDK, developed by SkyWater in conjunction with Google, enables open source design of unique application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) using its 130 nm mixed-signal CMOS technology.
The 90 nm fully depleted silicon on insulator (FDSOI) CMOS process technology developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory serves as the foundation for SkyWater’s new commercial SKY90-FD open source product. The most recent government-funded effort at SkyWater focuses innovation, made possible by open source design, on the commercial application of this technology.
According to Dr. Matthew Kay, the DOD program manager for this project, “Investments in commercial endeavors such as the partnership between SkyWater and Google is another example of how the Department of Defense can leverage technology advancements within the open source community to effectively and efficiently improve our defensive posture for the future.”
The DOD makes extensive use of OSS (Open Source Software) tools, which are becoming increasingly important in mission-critical defence applications and systems that must operate consistently and dependably. Open source fosters trust because of its transparency, which makes it easier to identify design flaws and dangerous code—something that is not always achievable with private software—and accelerates innovation through cumulative efforts. This usage of open source has significantly advanced technology and raised the bar for American military.
As a founding member of the RISC-V Foundation, the Linux Foundation’s CHIPS Alliance initiative, and a participant in the Open Compute Foundation, Google has a long history of promoting open source silicon. In order to build chips in code and carry out design simulations that test, optimise, and validate particular chip designs, the open source model makes use of a talent pool of software engineers. Chip designers can iterate and create more quickly as a result, and they can tape out designs more frequently than they could with earlier, more conventional approaches. Google became involved in open silicon with the intention of gradually bringing costs down and lowering entry barriers for hardware startups and small enterprises.