DARPA has an ambitious $1.5 billion plan to reinvent electronics

DARPA has an ambitious $1.5 billion plan to reinvent electronics

Last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which funds a range of blue-sky research efforts relevant to the US military, launched a $1.5 billion, five-year program known as the Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) to support work on advances in chip technology. The agency has just unveiled the first set of research teams selected to explore unproven but potentially powerful approaches that could revolutionize US chip development and manufacturing.

Hardware innovation has taken something of a back seat to software advances in recent years, and that bothers the US military for several reasons.

End of an era

At the top of the list is that Moore’s Law, which holds that the number of transistors fitted on a chip doubles roughly every two years, is reaching its limits (see “Moore’s Law is dead. Now what?”). That could stymie future advances in electronics that the military relies on, unless new architectures and designs can allow progress in chip performance to continue.

There are also worries about the rising cost of designing integrated circuits, and about increased foreign—for which read “Chinese”—investment in semiconductor design and manufacturing (see “China wants to make the chips that will add AI to any gadget”).

For more detailed information regarding this new funding, please see. technologyreview.com