SRC Adds Sixth Center to National, Multi-University Network of Research Centers

Newest Addition to Focus Center Research Program Joins 10 Universities to Tackle Multi-Scale Systems Research

Nov 3, 2009

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.- Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the world's leading university research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, today announced that a new center has been added to its Focus Center Research Program (FCRP) bringing together leading national universities to advance semiconductor and systems industry research.

This new center is the sixth member of the FCRP's national, multi-university network and links 10 universities collaborating on multi-scale systems research. Specifically, the new center, based at University of California, Berkeley, under Endowed Chair and Professor, Jan Rabaey, will create a comprehensive and systematic solution to the distributed multi-scale system design challenge. Its grand challenge is the development of "energy-smart" distributed systems-systems that are deeply aware of the balance between energy availability and demand, and adjust their behavior in response through dynamic and adaptive optimization through all scales of design hierarchy.

The Multi-Scale Systems Research Center joins five existing FCRP centers involving 35 leading U.S. universities in 17 states engaged in research focused on high level challenges for the industry. Following an open re-competition of the FCRP, the five centers have refined their high-level research agendas on topics that include platform systems design, circuit and module design, inter-connectivity solutions, novel structures and devices and nanoelectronic materials and processes. The FCRP features more than 200 university faculty and 550 graduate research students.

The FCRP is a cooperative initiative among members of the U.S. semiconductor industry and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) designed to expand long-range, pre-competitive, microelectronics and systems research within U.S. universities.

"The FCRP is aimed at creating breakthrough technology solutions critical to U.S. economic competitiveness and security," said Betsy Weitzman, SRC executive vice president and FCRP executive director. "The FCRP is unique because of its multi-university, multi-disciplinary approach to complex research problems, and the Multi-Scale Systems Research Center will follow in this tradition as it works to create structured and formal design methodologies to manage the complexity of multi-scale systems design."

A Successful Track Record

Formed in 1997, the FCRP has traditionally focused on topics where evolutionary research and development were not sufficient. With an emphasis on discovery and a long-range time horizon, the estimated $40 million program has collaboratively joined the technology industry and government agencies to support advanced research, with the additional benefit of providing access to relevantly trained graduate students to fill critical jobs. The Multi-Scale Systems Research Center is the first center added to the FCRP since 2003.

This basic research program is unique in that industry participants co-fund the centers with DARPA. The FCRP is guided at a policy and strategic level by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and industry leaders through a Governing Council and at a technical level through a Science Advisory Board.

"Without the commitment and leadership of DARPA, this program would not have excelled as it has and we would not be in a position to launch this new center focused on multi-scale systems research," said Rabaey. "The FCRP works so effectively because of the shared and equal dedication of government, industry and the academic community. That common sense of direction is what has led to a broad range of truly innovative solutions to hard problems over the past decade, and I am convinced it will continue to do so in the next."

"The FCRP is a marquee program in the DARPA university center portfolio," said Jeff Rogers, DARPA program manager for the FCRP. "It's a partnership between industry and the U.S. Department of Defense that has produced well-trained students and maintained a vibrant academic community at the forefront of microelectronics."

The Focus Center Research Program (FCRP) is one of three research program entities of SRC. Celebrating 27 years of collaborative research for the semiconductor industry, SRC defines industry needs, invests in and manages the research that gives its members a competitive advantage in the dynamic global marketplace. Awarded the National Medal of Technology, America's highest recognition for contributions to technology, SRC expands the industry knowledge base and attracts premier students to help innovate and transfer semiconductor technology to the commercial industry.

Dan Francisco
The Francisco Group for SRC

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