As the computing industry struggles to maintain its historically rapid pace of innovation, a new, $32 million center based at the University of Michigan aims to streamline and democratize the design and manufacturing of next-generation computing systems.
The Center for Applications Driving Architectures, or ADA, will develop a transformative, "plug-and-play" ecosystem to encourage a flood of fresh ideas in computing frontiers such as autonomous control, robotics and machine-learning.
Today, analysts worry that the industry is stagnating, caught between physical limits to the size of silicon transistors and the skyrocketing costs and complexity of system design.
"The electronic industry is facing many challenges going forward, and we stand a much better chance of solving these problems if we can make hardware design more accessible to a large pool of talent," said Valeria Bertacco, an Arthur F. Thurnau professor of computer science and engineering at U-M and director of the ADA Center. "We want to make it possible for anyone with motivation and a good idea to build novel high-performance computing systems."
The center is a five-year project that's led by U-M and includes researchers from a total of seven universities, pending final contracts: Harvard University, MIT, Stanford University, Princeton University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Washington.
ADA is funded by a consortium that is led by the Semiconductor Research Corporation and includes the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The center is one of six new centers recently announced as part of the Joint University Microelectronics Program, organized by the Semiconductor Research Corporation.