Google and SkyWater partner on open source chip design platform

A close up of a multi coloured computer wafer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

US chip manufacturer SkyWater and Alphabet's Google Public Sector have forged a strategic alliance to develop an open source chip design platform.

Solely US-owned pure-play silicon foundry SkyWater also confirmed $15 million in funding from the US Department of Defense (DoD) for the platform's development.

“One of the reasons the U.S. government is investing in this initiative is because they can then take the output of a lot of this development,” said Thomas Sonderman, SkyWater CEO.

Per reports, the mixed-signal chips will be manufactured at SkyWater’s Minnesota facility, while the design platform will be hosted and powered by Google Cloud.

Specifically, SkyWater’s affiliation with Google’s for-profit subsidiary will facilitate open source design for the firm’s latest 90 nm CMOS process offering, SKY90-FD.

“We’re hoping that the collaboration is going to address what are really historical limitations of chip design and production, both for national defense as well as commercial markets, because researchers get improved accessibility and developers get to go through that exploration faster and candidly at lower costs,” said Will Grannis, CEO of Google Public Sector.

SkyWater had previously partnered with Google to enable open source design for its 130 nm mixed-signal CMOS process technology.

“Through this important investment from the DoD and collaboration with Google, we will enable open source design for our commercial SKY90-FD process technology, creating an IP pipeline and pathway to commercial volume manufacturing. This will expand our 90 nm foundry offering as a platform for innovation and productization here in the U.S,” added Sonderman.