Open MPW program -- First shuttle update

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Oct 2, 2021, 12:51:05 AM10/2/21

Hello everyone,

Before we took a break for the weekend, the team here at Efabless wanted to give you a long overdue update on the first-run shuttle (MPW-ONE) in the Open MPW program.

Just under 1 year ago, we embarked on an ambitious project that represents the first of its kind -- a fully open IC development capability utilizing new tools, new PDK, new designs, and new users. The goal, to make chip design simpler, faster, affordable and accessible to a large universe of non-traditional chip designers.

This project has made great strides.  Some highlights from just the last twelve months include;

The actively engaged community members has grown to over 2000 people and has developed over 45 projects submitted for the first shuttle (MPW-ONE), and 56 for the second shuttle (MPW-TWO). The range of projects is incredible. It includes microprocessor cores based on SweRV, IBEX and Microwatt, multiple FPGAs, accelerators, and even analog and RF functions.  To top it off, one-third of the projects are from hardware and software developers, and over half of the projects are from people without previous experience designing chips!

As we endeavor on a new path with the community, we expect challenges to present themselves – this is necessary for us to progress and do new things. 

Recently, we got wafers back from the foundry (see picture below)! This has meant over the last week we have been heads down with attempting to bring up the management functionality. This early testing has identified issues around control of the IOs. We are still working to isolate the exact cause and implications for projects on this shuttle, but we wanted to keep everyone transparently informed.

We will be continuing to work on a path forward over the coming days and plan to keep you posted through regular updates on Slack (just another reason you should join the slack community!). You can find detailed information there regarding the investigations we have done and the current actions we are undertaking. We welcome your ideas and suggestions.

The community is the heart and a core strength of this entire program. The success of the program to date is largely based on the engagement and contributions from you.  We value and welcome your ongoing engagement to demonstrate the power of the open community model for chips.  

We encourage you to get involved -- if you have not already, please join the Slack site by providing your email address here to get an invitation to join. 

The Efabless Team

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