Cadence Design Systems has created an open source process design kit (PDK) for the 130nm process from SkyWater Technology.
The open source PDK for the 130nm process is intended to increase access to advanced technology for students as part of the Cadence VLSI Fundamentals Education Kit.
A recent report for the EU has recommended more development of open source PDK’s. Unlike current academic PDKs, SKY130 allows users to download without signing an NDA, create an academic design, and send to SkyWater Technology Foundry for manufacturing, allowing for innovative designs to be turned into reality.
SkyWater’s 130nm open-source semiconductor process offers a unique opportunity for students and researchers to experiment, learn, and innovate. By providing a cost-effective and accessible platform, SkyWater empowers students to gain practical experience in designing and fabricating integrated circuits. This hands-on exposure to real-world semiconductor processes equips students with invaluable skills and prepares them for the challenges of the industry.
The PDK serves as a comprehensive set of design rules, models, and guidelines that enable students to design and fabricate integrated circuits using the SkyWater process.
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“We are extremely pleased that Cadence chose to create a PDK based on SKY130. It will soon be available to all Cadence licensees which extends our reach to thousands of designers. It’s a vast expansion for SkyWater’s serviceable available market for SKY130 and speaks to the power of the open-source model,” said SkyWater CTO Steve Kosier. “Access for students to the open source PDK will support curricula in semiconductor degree programs, helping to build the workforce critically needed for reshoring the semiconductor ecosystem.”
The PDK provides a realistic and industry-standard environment with a professional-grade PDK for students to gain exposure to the same tools and methodologies used by industry experts. This familiarity enhances their employability and ensures a smooth transition into the workforce. Furthermore, the open-source nature of the SkyWater process encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing among students and researchers. This collaborative environment fosters innovation and enables students to learn from each other’s experiences, ultimately accelerating their growth and development.
As more students gain access to advanced technology and hands-on learning opportunities, the employment gap gradually diminishes, ensuring a steady supply of qualified professionals to meet the industry’s growing demands.
Additionally, Cadence and SkyWater are both DMEA-accredited Trusted Suppliers in the US, ensuring a secure supply chain, while providing easy accessibility to leading technology. By increasing access to advanced technology and fostering a collaborative environment, Cadence and SkyWater are nurturing the next generation of semiconductor professionals.