Is it possible to design a silicon chip using 100% Free and Open Source (FOS) tools?
Can one publish the layout?
Which impact can be expected?
These are few of the questions that thirty-six speakers will address at the second Free Silicon Conference (#FSiC).
Last chance to attend: reservation deadline is next week (February 21):
Cannot join in Paris? No worries! We are preparing the equipment to record all the sessions.
Tomorrow (Sunday February 3) the "CAD and Open Hardware" conference will take place at #FOSDEM (Brussels):
Last year's edition (with video-recordings):
Twenty-seven speakers have already confirmed their presence at the Free Silicon Conference (#FSiC):
The high-level design session will include speakers from:
Twenty-five speakers have already confirmed their presence at the Free Silicon Conference (#FSiC):
The introduction on Day 1 will begin with talks of:
Which impact will the first free and open (layout included) chips have on security, education and cooperative projects?
A small selection about #silicon and place-and-route tools:
LibreSilicon - decentralizing semiconductor manufacturing
The nextpnr FOSS FPGA place-and-route tool
OpenCores is specialized on FPGAs:
However, HDL code alone is not sufficient for silicon. It is just one input for the design loops involving place-and-route, parameter-extraction, timing-analysis, etc.
By creating FOS CAD tools we are bridging the gap between HDL and layouts.
Not all CAD tool vendors publish part or all of their licenses, hence the list below is not exhaustive:
https://www.synopsys.com/verification/prototyping/haps/synopsys-license-agreement.html (section 2.2 comma 3)
http://s3.mentor.com/company/enduser-english.pdf (section 4.1)
Those using such tools should refer to the text of their licenses directly.
Where can you download, modify and share a silicon IP block just like you do, say, with gcc?
The licenses of mainstream proprietary silicon CAD tools explicitly forbid publishing anything created with them. This is partially due to keep algorithms, such as place-and-route, more secret.
It is like writing a book with a proprietary word processor and then not having permission to publish it for not revealing how the grammar checker works.
Free silicon requires free CAD tools.
Thanks for the suggestion. In case of need we'll come back to you. For now we have several other logistic aspects to focus on first.
It depends from the foundry. Still, 100% self-created standard cells do not contain (if at all) accurate spice models necessary to make analog components (needed for example for input/output) so only simple digital-only circuits are possible.
If the self-created cells can be derived from general abstract principles (and then adapted to the exact foundry parameters), the foundry should not be able to claim any ownership.
Some members are listed here: https://wiki.f-si.org/index.php/FSiC2019#Organizing_committee .
Our logo intentionally resembles the FSF logo because we aim to be for silicon what the FSF is for software. We had extensive discussions with Richard Stallman before deciding to create the F-Si.
The F-Si is formally a "Swiss Verein" according to Art. 60-79 of the ZGB (see en.wikipedia.org for legal details and budget checking rules).
The F-Si budget is currently below 10kEur.
Last year's conference was a smaller event (one day only) and the slides are available here:
https://www-soc.lip6.fr/events/pastevents/2018/ . For this year, recordings are not planned yet.
We contacted foundries too - let's see how far we can go in the direction of opening the PDKs: We have already fabricated RISCV chips, but various NDAs did not allow to publish layouts. We are working to change that. At FSiC there will be a session about this too.
We are proud to announce the birth of the Free Silicon Foundation (https://f-si.org)!
We organize a conference in Paris, March 14-16 2019, to promote:
1. Free and Open Source (FOS) CAD tools for designing #VLSI circuits
2. the sharing of hardware designs
3. common standards
4. the freedom of users in the context of #silicon technology
Program and submissions: