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DARPA licenses embedded FPGA technology for US government projects

A licensing agreement between Flex Logix and US agency DARPA will allow any company designing ICs for US government projects to use the former’s EFLX embedded FPGA technology.

“Embedded FPGA technology is a game changer in the chip design process and we are pleased to be working with DARPA,” said Geoff Tate, Flex Logic’s CEO. “Chip development costs and lead times keep increasing and the ability to reconfigure RTL at any time can eliminate expensive chip spins. Companies need chips to be more flexible to cater for unforeseen changes. Most don’t know about FPGAs; they want reprogrammability and we give them a way to have reconfigurable RTL in their designs.”

Under the deal, Flex Logix will make available EFLX arrays with capacities ranging from 2.5k to 122.5k look up tables. These are targeted at TSMC’s 16FFC process node.

Tate said Flex Logic is working closely with one chip company under the agreement and expects the design to tape out in the ‘first half of 2017’. A further two projects are said to be in the planning stage, with tape outs expected later in the year.

According to Tate, the use of TSMC represents a ‘shift’ for DARPA. “In the past, DARPA has used ‘trusted’ fabs, for example IBM. However, there are no such fabs the US government can access today.”

Graham Pitcher

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