$1.1M grant to go toward chip research

By Nancy Motherway
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 8, 1996

A $1.1 million federal grant from the National Science Foundation will be used for research to develop energy-efficient computer chips at the UA's newly created Center for Low Power Electronics.

The chips are being developed for portable electronic equipment, which consumes enormous amounts of power, said Jo Dale Carothers, co-director of the center and assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The administrative center of the project will be located at the University of Arizona, but will operate at Arizona State University as well, she said.

Operating from within the UA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Center for Low Power Electronics primarily will involve four UA facility members and 14 to 16 graduate students.

"Industry is projecting that there will be hundreds, if not more, jobs that will employ our graduates," Carothers said. "In the year 2000, it (low-power technology) will have gone from a $5 billion to $15 billion market.

Although the center opened April 1, it awaits additional funding from the state to match the National Science Foundation grant, she said.

High-tech manufacturers Motorola, Burr-Brown, Intel, Hughes Missile Systems and National Semiconductor will match funds provided by the state, Carothers said.

"If more and more people need power, we need to cut down on the amount they consume to make it practical," she said. This will necessitate changing the way the circuitry is designed.

In addition, courses may be necessary to educate various industries on how to make energy-efficient chips for electronic devices, she said.