GlobalFoundries (GF) – fourth in the list of the biggest semiconductors around the globe – has partnered with Google’s two-year-old open-source silicon campaign to demonstrate that foundries can profit from such an initiative.

To create a vibrant ecosystem surrounding open-source hardware, Google intends to provide projects via academics, corporations, and semiconductor manufacturing facilities with the intent of more affordable choices for producing custom silicon.

The Process Design and Development Kit (PDK) of GF’s 180nm processing MCU platform ‘GF180MCU’ has been made available by GF and Google under Apache 2.0. According to Google, the GF 180nm tech platform gives open-source semiconductor designers additional alternatives for more affordable higher-scale manufacturing. The free software PDK is accessible on GitHub as a trial alpha release.

“This open-source PDK is the first result of our ongoing partnership with GF. Based on the scale and breadth of GF’s technology and manufacturing expertise, we expect to do more together to further access and innovation in semiconductor development and manufacturing”, Google’s Ethan Mahintorabi and Johan Euphrosine said.

According to GF’s reports, the capacity of operations employing 180nm silicon is 16 million transistors or more annually, with a 2026 forecast of approximately 22 million. IoT and the automotive industries are two other high-growth segments for foundries that GF examines.

What does the collaboration of GF and Google mean?

The collaboration with GF builds on Google’s efforts to demonstrate the open-source program’s viability for the foundry ecosystem through partnerships with foundries operated by the Efabless manufacturing stage and SkyWater Technology.

As per CounterPoint, GF is a part of the top-five foundries in the world, producing 6 percent of all semiconductors in 2022’s Q1. The world’s leading foundry, Taiwan’s TSMC, manufactured 55.9 percent of the total supply, trailed by Samsung with 14.9 percent and Taiwan-founded UMC with 7 percent.

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