The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced a new program called Common Heterogeneous Integration and Intellectual Property Reuse Strategies, better known as “CHIPS.” The project’s goal is to explore strategies that spur innovation in the microelectronics industry and accelerate systems integration through standardized interfaces for intellectual property (IP) blocks. Intel has long embraced industry standards and is very excited to be selected as a lead participant in the CHIPS research project.
We see the CHIPS project as an extension of Intel’s technology standards mission. In our view, industry standards focus innovation, foster diverse and competitive ecosystems, lower costs for customers and accelerate market adoption. To illustrate my point, imagine a computing industry where every vendor had their own set of proprietary connections and interfaces. Scale and innovation velocity is impossible. Contrast that to the thousands of products you can choose from thanks to standards such as PCI-Express, Universal Serial Bus (USB), DDR memory, Bluetooth wireless technology and others. Heck, in a convenience store the other day, I saw a USB-powered personal fan for your laptop.
The market-making effects of industry standards should lower the cost of systems integration, and accelerate innovation and system deployments among our government customers. The CHIPS team will investigate standard interfaces to quickly connect IP blocks into complete functional systems, but will not standardize the IP technology inside the block. This approach should enable customers with unique design requirements to combine best-of-breed IP blocks and create a customized solution, rather than rely on general-purpose micro electronics available in the market. A new array of standardized connection points will open up growth opportunities for Intel’s compute, communications, I/O and accelerator blocks while allowing us to retain our differentiated IP.
DARPA projects don’t just benefit U.S. government procurement. DARPA’s unique public/private model allows for knowledge created in their projects to be incorporated into commercial applications. The internet, cyber-security, machine learning, robotics and autonomous vehicles were invented or accelerated by innovations diffused into the commercial sector from DARPA projects. We all benefit when great minds collaborate.
To learn more about the CHIPS project, visit the DARPA announcement, and to learn more about products from Programmable Solutions Group, Intel’s sponsoring organization for CHIPS, visit our page on Intel.com.