U.S. gov awards superconducting electronics contract to Synopsys

October 27, 2017 //By Rich Pell
U.S. gov awards superconducting electronics contract to Synopsys
Electronic design automation (EDA) company Synopsys (Mountain View, CA) has announced that it has been awarded a multi-year R&D contract to advance EDA tool flows for superconducting electronics by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (Riverdale Park, MD) - an organization within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence agency (Washington, D.C.).

This will take place under IARPA's SuperTools program , which seeks to "develop a superconducting circuit design flow with a comprehensive set of EDA and technology computer aided design (TCAD) tools for VLSI design of superconducting electronics." As part of the program, Synopsys will collaborate with experts in the field of superconducting electronics to develop a comprehensive set of tools that increase the scale, efficiency, and manufacturability of these designs.

Superconducting electronics is seen as able to advance high-end computing, cryogenically operated low-noise sensors and imagers, space applications, and communications. It promises the development of "beyond CMOS" device technologies and to enable "a major leap" in processing speeds and power efficiencies.

According to IARPA, the technology could allow a supercomputer to operate at 100 petaflops of performance for about 200 kilowatts - much faster and cooler than today's supercomputers that run at 20 petaflops and 10 megawatts.

"The goal of the SuperTools program is to help make the same design and TCAD tools and quality libraries that drove the semiconductor industry's growth available for the emerging superconductor industry," says Dr. Mark Heiligman, manager of the IARPA SuperTools program. "As a long-time leader in design and TCAD, and the largest EDA company, Synopsys is an outstanding company to lead the development of this tool flow."

Under the contract, Synopsys will enhance its EDA tool flow to support ultra-low-temperature superconducting technology. In addition, it says, partnerships and collaboration with leading industry and academic experts will foster the development of a comprehensive solution for superconducting electronics.

"For over thirty years, Synopsys has developed EDA tools that have enabled the semiconductor industry to keep pace with semiconductor scaling and enabled Moore's Law," says Antun Domic, chief technology officer of Synopsys. "IARPA's investment in superconducting technology, as evidenced by the C3 supercomputer and now SuperTools programs, can help superconducting electronics evolve and become accessible for more designs."

According to the company, deliverables resulting from the


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