- GlobalFoundries (GF) has joined Google’s campaign, which has been ongoing for the past two years, to demonstrate that open-source silicon can be profitable for foundries.
- Google has worked with SkyWater and Efabless. GF will help them with this.
Global Foundries (GF), the world’s fourth-largest contract semiconductor maker with headquarters in the United States, has joined Google’s campaign, which has been ongoing for the past two years, to demonstrate that open-source silicon can be profitable for foundries.
Google aims to provide open-source projects by startups, academics, and cost-friendly options to manufacture custom silicon with semiconductor foundries. The idea is to develop a thriving ecosystem for open-source hardware.
Under the Apache 2.0 license, Google and GF have announced Process Design Kit for the GF 180nm MCU platform “GF180MCU.” The GF180MCU open source PDK is available on GitHub as an “experimental” alpha release. The GF 180nm technology platform provides open-source silicon designers with new high-volume manufacturing, cost-effectiveness, and voltage choices.
As per GF, applications that use silicon with a resolution of 180nm now have a global capacity of more than 16 million wafers annually and are projected to approach 22 million wafers by 2026. According to GF, foundations are expected to grow substantially in the Internet of Things (IoT) and automotive industries.
To demonstrate that the open-source strategy is viable for the foundry ecosystem, Google has been working with the SkyWater Technology foundry and the Efabless manufacturing platform. Their collaboration with GF will extend this effort.
According to Google, the program has funded a total of six “shuttle runs” for SkyWater, and out of the 350 designs it has received to date, it has built 240 of them at no expense to the program. The Efabless platform will also produce GF 180MCU.
Euphrosine and Mahintorabi said, “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.”
Euphrosine and Mahintorabi said, “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.”
According to Counter Point, GF is the fourth largest foundry in the world and was responsible for producing 6% of the world’s semiconductors during the first quarter of 2022. The largest foundry in Taiwan, TSMC, created 56% of the world’s supply. TSMC was followed by Samsung Foundry, which produced 15%, and UMC, also located in Taiwan, produced 7%.