Seven university research centers have been named to lead a massive national research network aimed at advancing new microelectronic discoveries and technologies. The total investment exceeds $250 million and involves dozens of collaborating universities.
The new centers are part of an initiative named JUMP 2.0, an acronym for Joint University Microelectronics Program. It’s being led by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) in collaboration with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the semiconductor industry and the universities involved in the seven consortia. The SRC-led effort builds on an initial JUMP collaboration aimed at accelerating U.S. advances in information and communications technologies.
According to the SRC press release, each JUMP 2.0 center will focus on one overarching research theme that’s viewed as key to solving technical challenges arising from an increasingly connected world and the rapidly evolving microelectronic technologies. The centers will conduct long-term research aimed at making breakthroughs with broad application potential.
“We are at an inflection point in the evolution of computing systems and technologies,” said Roman Caudillo, the JUMP 2.0 Director. “The JUMP 2.0 program will be a key component in identifying and forging the best path forward by driving public-private investment for disruptive innovation in microelectronics systems at scale. I look forward to helping guide the semiconductor industry through the SRC JUMP 2.0 program and in cooperation with DARPA in the years to come.”
The goals of JUMP 2.0 are “to significantly improve performance, efficiency, and capabilities across a range of electronics systems.” It will investigate novel materials, devices, architectures, algorithms, designs, integration techniques, and other innovations that will be key to next-generation information and communications advancements.
The following seven university administered centers – and their research themes – were announced this week:
- Two of the JUMP 2.0 centers will be led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, the only institution selected to direct multiple centers. With combined funding of $65 million, Georgia Tech will be the hub for:
- 1. COCOSYS (Center for the Co-Design of Cognitive Systems), which will focus on cognitive systems, specifically improving human-intelligent machine interactions and collaborations.
- 2. COGNISENSE (Center on Cognitive Multispectral Sensors), which will focus on intelligent sensing to action by developing sensors that can adapt to sensory input snd effectively and efficiently perceive important information.
- CUBIC (Center for Ubiquitous Connectivity) will be led by Columbia University and will focus on overcoming the increasing connectivity bottlenecks between wireless devices and data center systems. CUBIC will receive funding of $35 million over five years and will involve researchers from 11 different universities.
- ACE Center for Evolvable Computing will be directed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. With researchers from a dozen universities, it’s theme will be distributed computing systems and architectures that can operate with greater energy efficiency. Funded by a $31.5 million grant from JUMP 2.0 plus funds from the partnering institutions, its total five year budget will be $39.6 million.
- PRISM (Center for Processing with Intelligent Storage and Memory), will consist of ten university partners and will be headed up by the University of California, San Diego, researching the theme of intelligent memory and storage. PRISM will be supported by a total of $50.5 million, including $35 million from SRC.
- Pennsylvania State University will lead CHIMES (Center for Heterogeneous Integration of Micro Electronic Systems) comprised of 14 partner institutions and funded to the tune of nearly $33 million. The research theme of CHIMES will be improving the integration and packaging of semiconductor devices, chips and other components.
- Cornell University was selected to lead SUPREME (Superior Energy-Efficient Materials and Devices). Its research focus will be on developing novel materials, devices, and technologies. With funding of $34 million shared across 14 partner universities, SUPREME will apply basic materials science to develop new devise architecture.
The JUMP 2.0 centers illustrate once again the importance of American research universities and their collaborations with private industry. If the U.S. is to be at the forefront of microelectronics and semiconductors, this type of well-funded, academic-led innovation – in hardware, memory, data storage and security, communication capacity, artificial intelligence, and energy demands – is crucial to sustaining its progress.