Iowa State University


William Black, Electrical and Computer Engineering, (515) 294-1148
Raymond Johnson, RocketChips, Inc., (612) 922-4282
Teddi Barron, Engineering Communications, (515) 294-0262


RocketChips, Inc., Edina, Minn., has contracted with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University to develop, design and test high-speed, high-performance analog and mixed signal integrated circuits.

RocketChips will provide $1 million over five years to fund the research and development project.

The company chose Iowa State because of the unique faculty and student resources in electrical and computer engineering, said Associate Professor William Black, Jr., who will head the project. "We have a very strong linear and mixed signal group that is one of the largest programs in the country. This type of advanced chip design is interdisciplinary, requiring knowledge and competence in many electrical engineering disciplines. Our curriculum and research are very focused on educating students in the process and methods of this type of integrated circuit design," Black said.

Faculty and students will conduct research on new architectures, designs, fabrication and testing of high-speed, high-performance integrated circuits for high-tech electronics systems used in computer networks, datacomm systems and the Internet.

"RocketChips will use the Iowa State research to develop chips (and related core technologies) in standard silicon process that operate at gigabit speeds and cost significantly less than what is currently available," said Raymond Johnson, president and chief executive officer.

RocketChips also intends to establish and operate a state-of- the-art integrated circuit design and product development center in Ames, Johnson said. "This small business enterprise will design analog and mixed signalintegrated circuit products and is expected to provide employment opportunities for engineers and other skilled business and technical personnel."

In addition to Black, other ISU faculty involved are David Bergland, Randall Geiger, Marwan Hassoun, Edward Kim-Fung Lee, Sachin Sapatnekar, Srini Tridandapani and Robert Weber.

RocketChips is a start-up company which recently completed its initial "seed" round of financing, Johnson said. Investors include the Ames SeedCapital Fund and private investors from Iowa, Minnesota and California.


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