Microsoft to host secure design tools in the cloud

Microsoft to host secure design tools in the cloud

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Microsoft is leading a US project that will provide a key boost for chip designs in the cloud.

All the major design tool vendors are part of the Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes (RAMP) project sponsored by the US Department of Defense. Like other defence projects that led to commercial spin offs, this will tackle one of the major challenges to boosting productivity for chip design, namely using cloud services.

Despite the recent launch of cloud-native design tools over the last two years, chip designers are still waryof committing sensitive design information to the cloud.

Led by Microsoft, the RAMP project aims to bring commercial technology to defence applications, from satellites and radar to vehicles and communications equipment. Historically, the security requirements associated with developing microelectronics have limited the ability of the DoD and defence contractors to use the latest design tools, technologies and components.

Microsoft previously led the first phase of the project to develop design capabilities. This second phase aims to develop custom integrated chips and System on a Chip (SoC) designs using a secure, collaborative design flow that provides access to advanced manufacturing processes at GlobalFoundries.

Alongside GF, the project includes design tools from Ansys, Cliosoft, Cadence, Synopsys and Siemens EDA, Intel and Flex Logix for FPGAs and Zero ASIC for prototyping, BAE Systems, Battelle Memorial Institute and Raytheon Intelligence as well as security from Tortuga Logic.

The tools will be hosted in the Azure Government cloud to provide a secure, scalable microelectronic supply chain, while also ensuring the design and manufacturing meets its stringent security and compliance requirements.

Security of designs in the cloud is a key issue for chip designers, and bringing together cloud-based secure design capabilities, RAMP will expand the number of foundries available to the US DoD, enhance resiliency, and foster growth of the domestic semiconductor supply chain.

The success of RAMP will also enable the department to be more agile with technology developments, quickly adapt to evolving needs, and adopt the latest technological capabilities. This is separate from the DARPA Toolbox that also aims to stimulate the use of commercial tools and technologies in defence research projects.

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