Democratizing IC Design: The SSCS PICO Program

iStock 1208214583The Solid-State Circuits Society is committed to improving diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in integrated circuit (IC) design. We envision a future in which chips can be designed through a web browser, by anyone, anywhere, and through open worldwide collaboration.

Through its Platform for IC Design Outreach (PICO) program, the SSCS is working with the rapidly growing open-source community to help accelerate the construction of the required ecosystem. Our goal is to help build and connect to new communities that share our excitement about IC innovation and its democratization toward a new wave of global impact.

The program will provide education, mentoring and collaboration opportunities as well as sponsored fabrication runs. It will also increase volunteering opportunities and is expected to help create new outreach programs to undergraduate and pre-college students as well as enhance existing ones (such as the SSCS design contest). The timeline below provides a summary of the most recent activities.


April 2021:

The Solid-State Circuits Directions Committee (SSCD) organizes a free & open online workshop on “Democratizing IC Design” (YouTube). The event drew over 970 attendees, nearly 50% of which were in the Young Professionals age group. Speaker list:   

  • Tim Ansell (Google) “Fully open source manufacturable PDK for a 130nm process”

  • Mohamed Kassem (Efabless), “45 Chips in 30 Days: Open Source ASIC at its best!”

  • Xifan Tang (University of Utah), “Open Source eFPGA implementation in SKY130”

  • Thomas Parry (SystematIC Design), “Amateur Radio Satellite Transceiver”

June 2021:

SSCS sponsors four open-source designs for silicon fabrication through Efabless’ chipIgnite program. The selections reflect our dedication to supporting undergraduates, as well as geographical regions that are presently underrepresented in IC design:

  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, “AFTx06 RISC-V core,” Github

  • Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Vietnam, “VCO-Based-ADC,” Github

  • University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan, “Servo Motor Controller Module,” Github

  • Argentine School of Micro-Nanoelectronics, Buenos Aires, Argentina, “Collection of EAMTA 2021 student projects,” Github


July 2021:

SSCS launches its first open-source IC design contest. The contest targets silicon fabrication through six seats on Efabless’ chipIgnite shuttle run program. Further details can be found on the contest homepage.