Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Thursday, April 18, 2024

EU Consortium Developing Next-Gen Edge-AI Tech Now Accepting Design Proposals 

GRENOBLE, France, Feb. 27, 2024 – A new European Union consortium created to accelerate the development of next-generation, edge-AI technologies is installing cleanroom tools and gearing up to design, evaluate, test and fabricate new circuits from across Europe.

Credit: CEA

Coordinated by the EU’s four leading research and technology organizations (RTOs), France’s CEA-Leti, Germany’s Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Belgium-headquartered imec and Finland’s VTT, the PREVAIL project is a networked, multi-hub platform providing prototype chip fabrication capability in advanced artificial technology to EU stakeholders. In most cases, the technology offer will be based on commercial foundry processes, and advanced technology modules will be enhanced in the cleanrooms of the project partners.

“The PREVAIL project’s ultimate goal is to position Europe with an easy-access, advanced manufacturing infrastructure enabling users to make early research samples of innovative and trustworthy products and accelerate their commercialization,” said Sergio Nicoletti, CEA-Leti business development manager and PREVAIL project manager. “And while bringing their cutting-edge technologies to a higher maturity level and giving users the possibility to fabricate and test AI prototypes based on these technologies, the RTOs are reaping the benefits of technological cross-fertilization.”

“In addition to providing high-performance, low-power edge components and technologies to support the massive data-processing requirements of AI, the project will help energize the EU’s digital transformation, a precursor to the goals of the European Chips Act,” he said.

Launched at the end of 2022, the project is leveraging the RTOs’ advanced 300 mm fabrication, design and test facilities and related expertise to create the Testing and Experimentation Facility for Edge-AI Hardware (TEF Edge AI HW). This network will validate new high-performance, low-power, edge-AI components and support an infrastructure capable of fabricating early research prototype samples for testing in innovative edge-AI applications.

Nicoletti said the consortium is working with selected SMEs, the RTOs’ industrial partners and academic labs to prepare early designs that will be used to test fabrication equipment in the RTOs’ facilities. The project plans to open access widely for EU designers by May 2026.

While 80 percent of the project’s budget targets equipment suited for design, testing and fabrication of edge-AI devices, the project also will dramatically reinforce the readiness of the RTOs to equip their new pilot lines for developing 3D technologies, which also are envisioned in the chips act.

Key Project Components

In addition to fabricating advanced edge-AI applications and creating the platform’s TEF Edge AI HW, the consortium will provide process design kits (PDKs) compatible with standard commercial CAD tools and all the elements necessary for full chip design. A user-interface team will manage relationships among the developers of next-generation, edge-AI solutions and the consortium.

PREVAIL is the EU’s first step to link the RTO’s different infrastructures and synchronize and coordinate their investments to minimize duplication, and to jointly increase the technology readiness levels (TRLs) of tools in development. The nearly €156 million ($169.3 million) cost of the 42-month project will be shared by the RTOs’ countries and the European Commission. Approximately 80 percent of this funding is CAPEX invested in new tools suited for edge-AI devices.


Source: CEA-Leti

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