University of Glasgow helps with work on next-gen chips

The University of Glasgow is turning its attention to chips – not the kind Glaswegians regularly eat for breakfast with a bottle of Buckfast, but by launching a spin-out company aimed at helping chip makers develop next-gen computer chips.

The company is called Gold Standard Simulations (GSS) and will, as the name implies, offer simulations for chip manufacturers to see how variable and unreliable nanoscale transistors are likely to perform. It could prove an invaluable and cost-effective addition to microchip research and production, particularly as chips become smaller and trickier to develop.

The company is headed by Professor Asen Asenov who holds the James Watt Chair in Electrical Engineering in the College of Science and Technology. He believes that GSS will offer a world-class simulation service and highlight the University of Glasgow as a leader in the field.

GSS is already off to good a start. It has secured a contract with the MODERN (MOdelling and DEsign of Reliable, process variation-aware Nanonelectronic devices, circuits and systems, clearly clinging at straws for an acronym here) project, which is a pan-European initiative worth €23 million aimed at designing next-generation computer chips. This project is worth £1.5 million to the University of Glasgow alone.

GSS will also offer courses in statistical variability designed to give students greater understanding of how to mitigate issues relating to the variability and reliability of new chip technologies, a vital aspect of training for the future development of computers.

Carina Healy of law firm Dundas & Wilson advised on the creation of GSS. She said that setting up GSS was an important step in commercialising the University of Glasgow’s knowledge in the device modelling sector. “It shows that there is funding available for good spin out company opportunities even in the current economic environment.”