The ARM deal is particularly aimed at the DARPA Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) that was set up in 2017 specifically to protect the US capability in electronics. The partners in ERI projects must ensure that the benefits from ERI’s 20+ DARPA-funded programs benefit the US commercial and defence base.
The deal allows these programs and otehrs acros DARPA to quickly and easily take advantage of ARM’s IP, tools and support, including AI accelerator and GPU cores as well as ultra-low power microcontroller cores.
“The span of DARPA research activity opens up a huge range of opportunities for future technological innovation,” said Rene Haas, president, IP Products Group, Arm. “Our expanded DARPA partnership will provide them with access to the broadest range of Arm technology to develop compute solutions supported by the world’s largest ecosystem of tools, services and software.”
With the ERI emphasis, the deal will also help with negotiations over the sale of ARM, as it will lead to political and security issues for any deal involving Chinese companies. This has already been seen with HiSilicon, Huawei's chip design subsidiary that uses the ARM cores: US embargo causes Huawei to run out of Kirin processors
Over 170 billion ARM-based chips have shipped to date from manufacutring partners around the world, and the deal provides researchers with the flexibility to access vertical market designs and tools from small embedded zero-power sensors to high-performance systems.
“DARPA’s programs within the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) focus on the most advanced challenges in microelectronics; equipping our community with best in class technologies is essential not only for break-through scientific and engineering advances, but also for improved transition into military and commercial applications,” said Serge Leef, who leads design automation and secure hardware programs in MTO.