Despite the ongoing chip shortage, the semiconductor space is growing. The SIA (Semiconductor Industry Assn.), in its 2022 SIA Factbook, says semiconductor companies ramped up production to address continued high demand, leading to record chip sales and units shipped in 2021. Innovation is on the upswing as well. The SIA data suggests U.S. semiconductor firms invested $50 billion in R&D (research and development) last year, which the SIA says is the highest in history, with the goal of staying competitive in the global market.
The U.S. government recognizes the importance of the semiconductor space for the U.S., including for national defense and the economy in general. Signed in August, the $54.2 billion CHIPS Act will provide investment and incentive funding to build semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the U.S., plus advance R&D efforts regionally and nationally. Microelectronics is one of 14 technology areas of “critical importance” to the Defense Dept. as outlined earlier this year by undersecretary of defense for research and engineering Heidi Shyu.
Randhir Thakur, president of IFS (Intel Foundry Services) says semiconductors enable technologies that are critical to the U.S.’s national security and to its competitiveness on a global scale. Scalable chip design and production capabilities are key in securing information systems and decision networks within various national security and government applications. Such applications in MAG (military, aerospace, and government) sectors typically have unique functional requirements, IFS says, such as a wide ambient temperature tolerance. Requirements for MAG applications also include advanced process technologies and top-notch, end-to-end security from the start of the manufacturing lifecycle to the end of it.
To accomplish these goals and more, IFS recently launched the USMAG (United States military, aerospace, and government) Alliance, which brings together a design ecosystem within U.S.-based manufacturing that ensures chip design and production meet the “stringent design and production requirements” for national security applications. The USMAG Alliance will be the latest addition to IFS’s Accelerator design ecosystem program, which helps foundry customers bring silicon products from idea to implementation by facilitating collaboration with industry-leading companies and making a comprehensive suite of tools available to them.
IFS says the USMAG Alliance will accomplish several things, including enabling members’ readiness to support MAG designs on leading-edge technology nodes, ensuring EDA (electronic design automation) members’ tools are optimized to deliver secure design methodologies and flows and enabled to operate in secure design environments, working with IP-provider members to deliver design IP blocks that serve MAG specifications for quality and reliability, and enabling the members who provide design services to implement USMAG design projects using IFS reference flows and methodologies.
Alliance members at launch include Cadence, Synopsys, Siemens Digital Industries Software, Intrinsix, and Trusted Semiconductor Solutions. Stephanie Pusch, cofounder and executive vice president of Trusted Semiconductor Solutions puts it neatly when she says working with Intel and the alliance will help enable next-generation microelectronics for critical military, aerospace, and government systems.
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