IARPA project aims to develop superconducting circuit-design tools

WASHiNGTON. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) -- an organization within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence -- announced what it calls the “SuperTools” program, a multiyear research effort to develop comprehensive software tools for designing and analyzing superconducting electronics circuits.

IARPA used a competitive Broad Agency Announcement to distribute SuperTools research contracts to teams led by the University of Southern California and design-automation firm Inc.; several government agencies and national laboratories --  including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories -- will work with IARPA to conduct independent test and evaluation of the tool suites and associated design methodologies developed by each team. IARPA is teaming up with the U.S. Army Research Office to manage the SuperTools program.

Superconducting circuit-design software would enable the user to design complex circuits with greater speed while using less power; this would be a giant step from today’s semiconductor technology: “Modern electronic design tools are the core of the semiconductor revolution and have allowed ever-more sophisticated electronic circuits to be designed and eventually built. Superconducting electronics offers the possibility of even faster and lower power circuits, but the design tools still need to be developed.” said Mark Heiligman, IARPA program manager.

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