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01. Achronix Licenses Fast, Flexible Semiconductor Chip

Rajit ManoharWithin the $77-billion semiconductor industry, there is a large and fast-growing $24-billion custom logic market. This custom logic market is divided into two major types of devices: application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Though ASICs are not reprogrammable like their FPGA counterparts, ASICs have traditionally been the preferred choice for reasons of price, speed, power, and capacity for all types of electronics used every day—until now. Rajit Manohar, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and his group have designed a FPGA chip that is 400 percent faster than any FPGA available today and faster than most ASICs. In addition, the device can be reprogrammed or updated over the internet or telecommunications network. Manohar, in partnership with entrepreneur John Lofton Holt and two Cornell alumni, founded Achronix Semiconductor Corporation to commercialize the technology. The company announced the fastest FPGA in the world by a factor of four. Achronix has been named to the EE Times’ 2005 list of companies Shaping Tomorrow’s Technology, as well as its list of the Silicon 60, the top 60 emerging global companies in silicon. Achronix expects to ship its first chips in 2007.

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