Did you ever dream about creating your own chip? I mean, a physical chip. One which you can hold in your hand, and which does exactly what you’ve designed it to do?
Until today, there were two major road blocks: you had to get access to a process design kit (PDK) from a chip manufacturing house (a foundry), and you had to have enough money to actually pay for the manufacturing. These times are over. Today.
Today, in a FOSSi Dial-Up talk, Tim Ansell of Google announced SkyWater PDK, the first manufacturable, open source process design kit. What differentiates this PDK from previous attempts is the fact that it is manufacturable: with this PDK, you can actually produce chips with the SkyWater foundry in the 130nm node.
That leaves you as chip designer only with one road block: money. Manufacturing chips is expensive – even for more than a decade old nodes like the 130nm node, you need to spend at least a couple thousand dollars.
You know what? Don’t worry – Google and efabless have got you covered! They are providing completely free of cost chip manufacturing runs: one in November this year, and multiple more in 2021. All open source chip designs qualify, no further strings attached!
This is certainly a dream come true for us at the FOSSi Foundation. We helped the Free and Open Source Silicon community, our community, grow and tackle huge challenges over the years. An open, manufacturable PDK was the main blocker in a fully open flow between RTL and a physical chip, and we’re extremely excited to see that blocker removed.
As always, removing one roadblock only highlights more challenges: RAM, ROM and flash compilers, analog blocks, optimizations to various tools, and much, much more. Now is the perfect time to get involved in the Free and Open Source Silicon ecosystem – or learn more about the accomplishments and challenges ahead of us. A good starting point are the next Dial-Up talks.
Head over to the Dial-Up web site for a listing of the upcoming talks on OpenROAD, cell design, OpenRAM, and Magic, an old, but surprisingly up-to-date tool! To stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the FOSSi ecosystem subscribe to El Correo Libre, our monthly newsletter bringing all the important news bits directly to your inbox (or read it online).