Microelectronic chips based on semiconductor technology have had a profound impact on human lives in areas such as energy, advanced manufacturing, public health, security, business, and artificial intelligence. However, their ever-increasing power consumption has not only become the bottleneck for performance improvement but has also led to the rapidly increasing carbon footprint of our expanding information infrastructure. The goal of the Center for Advanced Semiconductor Chips with Accelerated Performance (ASAP) is to create breakthrough integrated solutions, from materials and devices to circuits and architectures, that would lead to highly energy-efficient chips at advanced technology nodes for low-power digital and radio-frequency (RF) applications. The Center will make a sustained and meaningful impact on the next-generation computing infrastructure by partnering with industry leaders, as well as national and Department of Defense labs. Together with its industry members, ASAP will support the national semiconductor research agenda with fundamental research and grand challenges to build systems that have 100 times lower energy and higher performance compared to the most advanced solutions available today. The Center will focus on pre-competitive fundamental research and will engage in joint critical R&D projects with our industry members, leading to commercial technologies within the next decade.
ASAP will support the nation’s priorities in advancing modernization, fostering innovation, broadening participation, and preparing the future workforce. Current college curricula are designed to prepare experts in isolated levels and sectors of chip technology, which do not meet the requirement of the industry in the more-than-Moore era. With ASAP’s highly convergent research scope, students will receive training without traditional boundaries between disciplines of materials science, nanoscale electronic and photonic device fabrication and characterization, computational modeling, and circuit and architecture design. With their cross-disciplinary expertise, ASAP students will be ready to take on highly skilled tech jobs in existing and emerging industries, for example, in advanced chip design and manufacturing and nanotechnology. ASAP will also provide education and training to people from marginalized communities and help them find jobs in high-growth sectors.
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The ASAP has three research themes as described below.