Solid-State Circuits Directions Workshop:
Democratizing IC Design
Wednesday, April 7th, 2021 at 7:00 AM PT / 10:00 AM ET
This event is free and open to all
Solid-State Circuits Directions (SSCD) is a new technical committee within the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society (related article). Its charter is to promote forward-looking topics, build new communities and stimulate interaction with others. Following SSCD’s inaugural event on hardware security, the upcoming workshop will look at the new movement toward an open-source ecosystem for integrated circuit design.

Over the past several decades, society has strongly benefited from free and open-source software. More recently, the open-source spirit has expanded to hardware and has energized a new maker community that tinkers with embedded systems at the printed circuit board level. Groundbreaking developments have now also opened the door toward democratizing integrated circuit design.

Last year, Google, SkyWater and efabless have partnered to launch a shuttle program based on SkyWater’s SKY130 open-source process (130 nm CMOS). This technology is offered to the open community along with a complete design flow to enable designers to implement their ideas. This workshop will provide an overview of this program and highlight upcoming opportunities to benefit from it. Finally, it will showcase specific design work delivered by the community members and articulate a call to action for volunteers to design, teach and mentor.

7:00 AM PT- Welcome & Introductions (Boris Murmann, Stanford University)
7:05 AM PT- Fully open source manufacturable PDK for a 130nm process (Tim Ansell, Google)
7:35 AM PT- 45 Chips in 30 Days: Open Source ASIC at its best! (Mohamed Kassem, efabless)
7:55 AM PT- Design 1: Open Source eFPGA implementation in SKY130 (Xifan Tang, University of Utah)
8:25 AM PT- Design 2: Amateur Radio Satellite Transceiver (Thomas Parry, SystematIC Design)
8:55 AM PT- Call to Action: Need volunteers to design, teach and mentor
9:00 AM PT- Adjourn

Tim Ansell
Tim 'mithro' Ansell is a software engineer at Google and has been developing open source software for 20+ years. Tim has recently started trying to shake things up in the hardware accelerator development ecosystem by removing roadblocks to having a completely open ecosystem. Recently he worked with SkyWater Foundry to release a fully open source, manufacturable PDK for their 130nm process node and is funding a free shuttle program for open source designs. He has also contributed to projects in the open EDA ecosystem like OpenROAD, OpenRAM, Magic, and many others.

Mohamed Kassem
Mohamed Kassem is the cofounder and CTO of efabless corporation. The world’s first community-centric hardware design company applying collective community expertise & creativity to all aspects of semiconductor design. The company simplifies the process of developing smart hardware and opens it to anyone. Prior to launching efabless in 2014, Mohamed held several technical and global leadership positions within Texas Instruments’ Wireless Business Unit. He joined TI in 2000 at the beginning of the digital telephony revolution fueled by the unprecedented integration of major phone functions on a single SoC. He led the first development of 45nm, 28nm analog & mixed-signal IP functions for wireless applications processors. Mohamed holds a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Xifan Tang
Xifan Tang is currently a Research Assistant Professor with the University of Utah. He is currently the leading developer of the OpenFPGA project. His current research interests include computer-aided design for programmable architecture and emerging technologies. Tang received the B.Sc. degree in microelectronics from Fudan University, in 2011, and the M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering and the Ph.D. degree in computer science from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, in 2013 and 2017, respectively. He is a recipient of the 2015 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad. He is a member of IEEE.

Thomas Parry
Thomas Parry started his career in the Space industry designing RF and power systems for satellites. He worked on projects for NASA, European Space Agency and a number of innovative NewSpace startups. In this role he gained a solid appreciation of solid system design practices and designing for risk. He then jumped down the abstraction stack to work on mixed-signal IC design. He now works for SystematIC Design based in Delft, Netherlands designing ICs for the aerospace, automotive and commercial markets. His work involves design from idea conception through to product validation. His work has been for customers such as Broadcom, OSRAM, European Space Agency and a number of early stage start-ups. He straddles the divide between analogue and digital and is as comfortable deep in RTL, high-performance analogue design or layout.

He is a keen proponent of open-source and community led initiatives and is a key contributor to the Phase4 amateur radio project which aims at deploying a modern amateur radio satellite into geo-stationary orbit and beyond. He is also an enthusiastic supporter of the Skywater 130nm project and is attempting to design the world's first truly open-source amateur radio transceiver IC.