Open Source ASICS Take a Giant Leap Forward with the First Ever Open Foundry PDK

Wow, 2020 has been a year, hasn’t it? It is going to be remembered for lots of things, including this unprecedented pandemic. Although many industries have been negatively impacted, innovation continues. And, for a very select group, the list of things to remember will include a pivotal milestone for open source application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design.

Ross Miller, SkyWater Technology
Mohamed Kassem, Efabless

In June of 2020, Google and SkyWater Technology collaborated to release the industry’s first open source foundry process design kit (PDK) known as SKY130 (130 nm CMOS technology) under an Apache 2.0 license, giving designers worldwide access to use the technology for new IP functions as well as complete open source ASICs.

Some people think the open PDK achievement is brilliant, some say crazy, for others it was just a matter of time. Regardless of your opinion, fully open ASIC design is here in a great experiment that is happening right now. In this article we will summarize several points to get you up to speed.

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