How Quickly Can You Take Your Idea To Chip Design?

Gone are the days of expensive tapeouts only done by commercial companies. Thanks to Tiny Tapeout, students, hobbyists, and more can design a simple ASIC or PCB design and actually send it to a foundry for a small fraction of the usual cost. Learners from all walks of life can use the resources to learn how to design a chip, without signing an NDA or installing licenses, faster than ever before. Whether you’re a digital, analog, or mixed-signal designer, there’s support for you.

We’re excited to support our academic network in participating in this initiative to gain more hands-on experience that will prepare them for a career in the semiconductor industry. We have professors incorporating it into the classroom, giving students the exciting opportunity to take their ideas from concept to reality.

“It gives people this joy when we design the chip in class. The 50 students that took the class last year, they designed a chip and Google funded it, and every time they got their design on the chip, their eyes got really big. I love being able to help students do that, and I want to do that all over the country,” said Matt Morrison, associate teaching professor in computer science and engineering, University of Notre Dame.

We also advise and encourage extracurricular design teams to challenge themselves outside the classroom. We partner with multiple design teams focused on creating an environment for students to explore the design flow process from RTL-to-GDS, and Tiny Tapeout provides an avenue for them.

“Just last year, SiliconJackets was founded by Zachary Ellis and me as a Georgia Tech club that takes ideas to SoC tapeout. Today, I am excited to share that we submitted the club’s first-ever design to Tiny Tapeout 6. This would not have been possible without the help from our advisors, and industry partners at Apple and Cadence,” said Nealson Li, SiliconJackets vice president and co-founder.

Tiny Tapeout also creates a culture of knowledge sharing, allowing participants to share their designs online, collaborate with one another, and build off an existing design. This creates a unique opportunity to learn from others’ experiences, enabling faster learning and more exposure.

“One of my favorite things about this project is that you’re not only going to get your design, but everybody else’s as well. You’ll be able to look through the chips’ data sheet and try out someone else’s design. In our previous runs, we’ve seen some really interesting designs, including RISC-V CPUs, FPGAs, ring oscillators, synthesizers, USB devices, and loads more,” said Matt Venn, science & technology communicator and electronic engineer.

Tiny Tapeout is on its seventh run, launched on April 22, 2024, and will remain open until June 1, 2024, or until all the slots fill up! With each run, more unique designs are created, more knowledge is shared, and more of the future workforce is developed. Check out the designs that were just submitted for Tiny Tapeout 6.

What can you expect when you participate?

  • Access to training materials
  • Ability to create your own design using one of the templates
  • Support from the FAQs or Tiny Tapeout community

Interested in learning more? Check out their webpage. Want to use Cadence tools for your design? Check out our University Program and what tools students can access for free. We can’t wait to see what you come up with and how it’ll help you launch a career in the electronics industry!

The post How Quickly Can You Take Your Idea To Chip Design? appeared first on Semiconductor Engineering.



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