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GlobalFoundries joins Google’s open source silicon initiative

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Over the last year we have been busy planning the expansion of our free open source silicon design and manufacturing program to further grow the community of developers and companies building custom silicon, and build a thriving ecosystem around open source hardware.

Today, we’re excited to announce an expansion of this program and our partnership with GlobalFoundries. Together, we're releasing the Process Design Kit (PDK) for the GlobalFoundries 180MCU technology platform under the Apache 2.0 license, along with a no-cost silicon realization program to manufacture open source designs on the Efabless platform. This open source PDK is the first result of our ongoing partnership with GF. Based on the scale and breadth of GF’s technology and manufacturing expertise, we expect to do more together to further access and innovation in semiconductor development and manufacturing.
GF180MCU 1P5M 5 metals stack-up, 9kA top metal, with MIM between M3 and M4 layers.
Google started this program with SkyWater Technologies, by releasing one of their PDKs under the Apache 2.0 license. We sponsored six shuttle runs over the course of two years, allowing the open source community to submit more than 350 unique designs of which around 240 were manufactured at no-cost.
We cannot understate the milestone that this new partnership represents in the foundry ecosystem market.

Over the past few years, the world has experienced an unprecedented acceleration of adoption of digital capabilities—driven by the pandemic, and technology megatrends that have shifted every aspect of human life. According to GlobalFoundries, this has led to roughly 73% of foundry revenue being associated with high growth markets such as mobile, IoT, and automotive. This transition has not only given rise to a “New Golden Age” of semiconductors but also a tectonic shift in how we define and deliver innovation as an industry.  

Specifically, applications using 180nm are at a global capacity of 16+ million wafers a year and bound to grow to 22+ million wafers in 2026, according to GlobalFoundries.

The 180nm application space continues to see strong market traction in motor controller, RFID, general purpose MCUs and PMIC, along with emerging applications such as IoT Sensors, Dual Frequency RFID and Motor Drive.

The collaboration between GlobalFoundries and Google will help drive innovation for the application and silicon engineers designing in these high growth areas, and is an unambiguous affirmation of the viability of the open source model for the foundry ecosystem.

The GF 180nm technology platform offers open source silicon designers new capabilities for high volume production, affordability, and more voltage options. This PDK includes the following standard cells
  • Digital standard cells libraries (7-track and 9-track)
  • Low (3.3V), Medium (5V, 6V) and High (10V) voltage devices
  • SRAM macros (64x8, 128x8, 256x8, 512x8)
  • I/O and primitives (Resistors, Capacitors, Transistors, eFuses) cells libraries
Open sourcing more PDKs is a critical step in the development of the open source silicon ecosystem:
  • Open source EDA tools can now add support for multiple process technologies.
  • Researchers can produce fully-reproducible designs against multiple technology baselines.
  • Popular open source IP blocks can be ported to different process technologies.
We cannot build this on our own, we need you: software developers and hardware engineers, researchers and undergrad students, hobbyists and industry veterans, new startups and industry players alike, to bring your fresh ideas and your proven experiences to help us grow the open source silicon ecosystem.

We encourage you to:
By Johan Euphrosine and Ethan Mahintorabi – Hardware Toolchains Team

SkyWater and Google expand open source program to new 90nm technology

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Today, Google is announcing the expansion of our partnership with SkyWater Technology. We are working together to release an open source process design kit (PDK) for SKY90-FD, SkyWater’s commercial 90nm fully depleted silicon on insulator (FDSOI) CMOS process technology. SKY90-FD is based on MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s 90 nm commercial FDSOI technology, and enables designers to create complex integrated circuits for a diverse range of applications.

Over the last two years, Google and SkyWater Technology have partnered to make building open silicon accessible to all developers, starting with the open source release of the SKY130 PDK and continuing with a series of no-cost manufacturing shuttles for developers in the open source hardware ecosystem. To date, Google has sponsored six shuttles on the Efabless platform, manufacturing 240 designs from over 364 community submissions. This is the first partnership of its type ever launched, and the results to date have been impressive.
The latest MPW-6 shuttle received 90 submissions from a diverse community across 24 different countries:

Over the coming months, we'll work closely with SkyWater Technology to release their new SKY90-FD PDK under the Apache 2.0 license and organize additional Open MPW shuttles to manufacture open source designs for this new 90nm FDSOI technology, through the Efabless platform.

We believe that having access to different technologies through open source PDKs is critical to grow and strengthen the open silicon ecosystem:
  • Developers can go beyond the constraints of their familiar process nodes and explore different performance, power and area trade offs with existing or new designs.
  • Researchers can reproduce their research on different technologies to produce diverse figures of merit.
  • Tool maintainers can generalize their technologies' backends to support more than one process.
  • The community can refine the ways we structure, distribute and maintain these PDKs.
SKY90-FD is a 90nm FDSOI process. Unlike a traditional CMOS BULK process, SKY90-FD features a thin layer of insulator material between the substrate and the upper silicon layer. This thin oxide process allows the transistor to be significantly thinner than in the BULK process, allowing the device to be “fully depleted,” and simplifying the fabrication process. This extra insulation greatly reduces parasitic current leakage and lowers junction capacitances, providing improved speed and power performance under various environmental conditions.
The SKY90-FD process stack topology features 5x thin Copper base metal layers for the main interconnect and two extra thicker Al (Aluminum) metal layers capable of conducting higher current.
Google is excited about the new range of applications this open source PDK will enable once it's released later this year, and we can't wait to hear from you and watch the growing stream of innovative project ideas originating from the open silicon community.

In the meantime, make sure to check https://developers.google.com/silicon for resources and pointers to start your open silicon journey!


By Johan Euphrosine and Ethan Mahintorabi – Hardware Toolchains Team

Cirq Turns 1.0

Tuesday, July 19, 2022



Today we are excited to announce the first full version release of the open source quantum programming framework Cirq: Cirq 1.0. Cirq is a Python framework for writing, running, and analyzing the results of quantum computer programs. It was designed for near-term quantum computers, those with a few hundred qubits and few thousands of quantum gates. The significance of the 1.0 release is that Cirq has support for the vast majority of workflows for these systems and is considered to be a stable API that we will only update with breaking changes at major version numbers.

Getting to Cirq 1.0 is the culmination of a large amount of hard work by hundreds of contributors from Google, industry, and academia. We have been running a weekly meeting, called the “Cirq Cync”, for over four years where community members gather to discuss work on Cirq, bugs, and to generally tell terrible but amusing quantum programming jokes. We’re proud of this inclusive community, and we’ve been particularly happy to see the growth of many software developers into quantum computing experts, and quantum computing experts into solid software developers. One of our contributors, Victory Omole, won the 2021 Witteck Quantum Prize for Open Source Software. Way to go Victory!

The first commit to Cirq on GitHub (an internal version of Cirq at Google existed prior to this) was on Dec 19, 2017 by Craig Gidney, and we publicly announced Cirq in July of 2018. 3,200+ commits later to the GitHub repo, in the hands of the team at Google and the Cirq community, we’ve seen Cirq help accomplish some amazing things:
  • Cirq is the lingua franca that Google’s hardware team uses to write quantum programs that run on Google’s quantum computing hardware. Because of this, we have been able to post open source code in our ReCirq repo for these experiments for anyone to examine and extend. A few highlights of the past few years:
    • “Realizing topologically ordered states on a quantum processor”, K. J. Satzinger et al., Science 374 6572, 1237-1241 (2021) [paper] [ReCirq code]
    • “Information scrambling in quantum circuits”, X. Mi, P. Roushan, C. Quintana et al, Science 374, 6574 1479-1483 (2021) [paper] [ReCirq code]
    • “Hartree-Fock on a superconducting qubit quantum computer”, F. Arute et al., Science 369, 6507 1084--1089 (2020) [paper] [ReCirq code]
  • A healthy community of libraries have now been built on top of Cirq, enabling different quantum computing research areas. These libraries include:
    • TensorFlow Quantum: a tool for exploring quantum machine learning. Using TensorFlow Quantum researchers trained a machine learning model on 30 qubits at a rate of 1.1 petaflops per second (1.1 x 1015 operations per second).
    • OpenFermion: an open source tool for quantum computations involved in chemistry simulations.
    • Pytket (pytkey-cirq): an open source Python tool for optimizing and manipulating quantum circuits.
    • Mitiq: an open source library developed by the non-profit Unitary fund for error mitigation techniques developed by the non-profit Unitary fund.
    • Qsim: a high performance state vector simulator written using AVX/FMA vectorized instructions with optional GPU acceleration. qsimcirq is the Cirq interface one can use to access qsim from Cirq.
  • Numerous quantum computing cloud services from companies in the industry have also integrated/standardized Cirq. Programs written in Cirq can be used to run through AQT, IonQ, Pascal, Rigetti, and IQM vendors. In addition, Cirq can be used on Azure Quantum to run on the hardware supported by Azure Quantum. Finally, one can get realistic noise simulations of Google’s quantum computing hardware using our newly released Quantum Virtual Machine.
  • Cirq is not just for stuffy research. Cirq has also been used to help develop Quantum Chess, a version of chess that uses superposition and entanglement. This notebook shows you how the game of Quantum Chess can be programmed using Cirq.
Cirq moving to its first full version does not just come with new features (see 1.0 release notes), but also with more guarantees about stability. Cirq uses semantic versioning, which means that future point release of Cirq will be compatible with the full version release. For example, version 1.1 of Cirq will not introduce breaking changes to Cirq’s interfaces from version 1.0; only at major version bumps (from 1.x to 2.0, for example) will breaking changes occur.

When we began working on Cirq, quantum computers consisted of only a few qubits and a few quantum gates on these qubits. Building Cirq and the supporting software for these custom systems and having them start to scale to hundreds of qubits over the past (nearly) five years has taught us many lessons. One key takeaway from these lessons is that: As quantum computing hardware continues to grow in scale and complexity, we expect that making software to support this growth will be essential to continue meaningful research and progress. In the next five years, with hardware expected to reach hundreds or even thousands of qubits, the software that is developed for quantum computing will need to have a careful eye set on supporting these bigger and bigger systems. Going forward we will need an ever wider set of frameworks, programming languages, and libraries to achieve quantum computing’s promise.

Acknowledgements

We are indebted to all 169 contributors to the Cirq github repo, and the many more who have filed issues and used Cirq in their own software. A particular shout out to the original lead of Cirq, Craig Gidney, to Cirq’s second lead, ‪Bálint Pató who guided Cirq through its middle ages, and to Alan Ho and Catherine Vollgraff Heidweiller for product wisdom. A special thanks to the core Cirq contributors including Doug Strain, Matthew Neely, Tanuj Khatter, Dax Fohl, Adam Zalcman, Kevin Sung, Matt Harrigan, Casey Duckering, Orion Martin, Smit Sanghavi, Bryan O'Gorman, Wojciech Mruczkiewicz, Ryan LaRose, Tony Bruguier, Victory Omole, and Cheng Xing, and our documentarians Auguste Hirth and Abe Asfaw.


By Dave Bacon and Michael Broughton – Quantum AI Team
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