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It's Official. Microsoft Will Build Advanced Chips for the US Military

Including 'cloud, AI, and machine learning-enabled automation'.

The US National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL) announced on Thursday that it has chosen Microsoft to build advanced chips for the military. 

"Historically, the security requirements associated with developing microelectronics have limited the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) ability to leverage the latest innovations," wrote in a blog Tom Keane, Corporate Vice President, Azure Global, Microsoft Azure.

"Through a recent DoD-sponsored project, Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes (RAMP) using Advanced Commercial Capabilities, the goal is to leverage commercial best practices to help accelerate the development process and bring reliable, secure state-of-the-art microelectronic design and manufacturing to national security and defense applications."

This is not the first time Microsoft and the DoD join forces. The two entities have a 40-year history of collaboration for bringing commercial innovation to the national security community.

Microsoft also previously led a coalition of companies to develop the design capabilities that could achieve the DoD’s mission priorities. This was the first phase of this new initiative.

The second phase will see these entities develop custom integrated chips and System on a Chip (SoC) with "lower power consumption, improved performance, reduced physical size, and improved reliability for application in DoD systems."

Collaborators on this ambitious project include Ansys, Applied Materials, Inc., BAE Systems, Battelle Memorial Institute, Cadence Design Systems, Cliosoft, Inc., Flex Logix, GlobalFoundries, Intel Federal, Raytheon Intelligence and Space, Siemens EDA, Synopsys, Inc., Tortuga Logic, and Zero ASIC Corporation. However, little detail was revealed on how these new chips will work and what exactly they would consist of.

Microsoft did say the new chips would have mission-critical applications, with cloud, AI, and machine learning-enabled automation, security, and quantifiable assurance. Meanwhile, the NSTXL revealed that the Navy and Air Force both desire to leverage commercial capabilities to develop a RAMP prototype methodology, indicating which government entities are more likely to take advantage of the new futuristic chips.

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