DARPA Forms Collaborative Research Team in Nano-Electronics

From “The Guardian Express”
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DARPA & STARnet Will Be Global Leaders In Nano-Electronics

Added by GM on January 22, 2013.
Saved under Jim DonahueScience

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced the establishment of a research network that will conduct experiments to further advance current evolutionary directions in the semiconductor industry and make discoveries that will drive new technological innovation beyond what is currently imagined for the electronics industry today.

One of the major problems in the semiconductor industry has been power requirements, excessive heat and other problems associated with the physical limitations of transistors as they get smaller and smaller in size. This will no doubt help the newly emerging nanotechnology industry.

Technological innovations have been an important economic driver of the electronics industry in this country for several decades, and this new network seeks to advance those innovations.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPR), along with 6 academic teams assembled from within the semiconductor and defense industries are establishing the Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research Network. (STARnet)

The establishment of STARnet, with a starting grant of 40 million+ in basic research funding grants hopes to support large university communities to discover technological innovations beyond what might be considered the norm in the electronics industry.

“STARnet is composed of 6 collaborating multi-university teams taking a fresh look at the challenges we face, to find those ideas that will drive innovation for the next several decades. Each of the 6 centers is composed of several university teams jointly working toward a single goal: knocking down the barriers that limit the future of electronics” said Dr. Jeffrey Rogers, PhD, DARPA program manager. “With such an ambitious task, we have implemented a nonstandard approach. Instead of several different universities competing against each other for a single contract, we now have a large teams working collaboratively, each contributing their own peace towards a large and goal.”

DARPA has guaranteed a minimum of $40 million each year to support the research involved, and the combined resources of leading university academics as well as the expertise of DARPA and participating electronics industry companies presents a unique picture of the future of nanotechnology.

The six academic teams are grouped into the following centers:

1). Function Accelerated nanomaterial Engineering (FAME): The FAME Center focuses on nonconventional materials and devices incorporating nanostructures with quantum-level properties to enable analog, logic and memory devices for beyond-binary computation. FAME is hosted at the University of California-Los Angeles with collaborators from Caltech, Cornell, Columbia, MIT, North Carolina State University, Purdue, Rice, Stanford, University of California-Irvine, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Riverside, University of California-Santa Barbara, and Yale.

2). Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces and Novel Architectures (C_SPIN): Electron spin-based memory and computation have the potential to overcome the power, performance and architectural constraints of conventional CMOS-based devices. C_SPIN focuses on magnetic materials, spin transport, novel spin-transport materials, spintronic devices, circuits and novel architectures. C_SPIN is hosted at the University of Minnesota with collaborators from Carnegie-Mellon University, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, University of Alabama, University of California-Riverside, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

3). Systems on Nanoscale Information fabriCs (SONIC): Explores a drastic shift in the model of computation and communication from a deterministic digital foundation to a statistical one. Many applications such as imaging processing and communications do not require one hundred percent perfectly error free computation and this Center will produce new strategies and designs optimized with this in mind. SONIC is hosted at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign with collaborators from the University of California-Berkeley, University of California-San Diego, Stanford University, Oregon State University, Princeton University, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and Carnegie Mellon University.

4). Center for Low Energy Systems Technology (LEAST): The overriding goal is low power electronics. For this purpose it addresses nonconventional materials and quantum-engineered devices, and projects implementation in novel integrated circuits and computing architectures. LEAST is hosted at Notre Dame University, with collaborators from Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Tech, Penn State University, Purdue University, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-San Diego, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Texas-Dallas and University of Texas-Austin.

5). The Center for Future Architectures Research (C-FAR) The scope of C-FAR is to investigate highly parallel computing implemented in nonconventional computing systems, but based on current CMOS integrated circuit technology. C-Far is based at the University of Michigan with collaborators from Columbia University, Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Princeton university, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-San Diego, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, University of Virginia and the University of Washington.

6). The TerraSwarm Research Center (TerraSwarm): The Center will focus on the challenge of developing technologies that provide innovative, city-scale capabilities via the deployment of distributed applications on shared swarm platforms. Two scenarios are of interest: a city during normal operation and a city during natural or man-made disasters (such as accidents, failures, hurricanes, earthquakes or terrorist attacks). Terraswarm is hosted at the University of California-Berkeley with collaborators from California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, University of California-San Diego, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas-Dallas, and the University of Washington.

“STARnet is working on tomorrow’s technology and also developing tomorrow’s technologists,” added Rogers. “Today’s graduate students are getting the hands-on experience they need to apply these breakthroughs to future Defense and commercial systems.”

Dr. Jeffery Rogers is a program manager working in DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office since June 2008, and holds a PhD from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jim Donahue

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