Recommender-System on a Chip? Google lets you design your own (RecSys?) chip architecture — for free. [Philipp Wagner @ FOSSi]

Google and efabless announce that they would let anybody to design their own chip architectures and manufacture those chips free of charge. Maybe it is time for a hardware recommender-system on a chip?

Did you ever dream about creating your own chip? I mean, a physical chip. One which you can hold in your hand, and which does exactly what you’ve designed it to do?

Until today, there were two major road blocks: you had to get access to a process design kit (PDK) from a chip manufacturing house (a foundry), and you had to have enough money to actually pay for the manufacturing. These times are over. Today.

Today, in a FOSSi Dial-Up talk, Tim Ansell of Google announced SkyWater PDK, the first manufacturable, open source process design kit. What differentiates this PDK from previous attempts is the fact that it is manufacturable: with this PDK, you can actually produce chips with the SkyWater foundry in the 130nm node.

That leaves you as chip designer only with one road block: money. Manufacturing chips is expensive – even for more than a decade old nodes like the 130nm node, you need to spend at least a couple thousand dollars.

You know what? Don’t worry – Google and efabless have got you covered! They are providing completely free of cost chip manufacturing runs: one in November this year, and multiple more in 2021. All open source chip designs qualify, no further strings attached!

Learn more about all of that by re-watching Tim’s Dial-Up talk or click through the slides.

This is certainly a dream come true for us at the FOSSi Foundation. We helped the Free and Open Source Silicon community, our community, grow and tackle huge challenges over the years. An open, manufacturable PDK was the main blocker in a fully open flow between RTL and a physical chip, and we’re extremely excited to see that blocker removed.

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