Generalized emulation of microcircuits technology transition strategy

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Virginia Tech

The Generalized Emulation of Microcircuits (GEM) program is a DoD-sponsored R&D effort that has demonstrated the ability to manufacture drop-in replacements for thousands of obsolete integrated circuits (ICs) using a single, modern IC fabrication process. A technology transition strategy, however, is still required to enhance the GEM System’s chances for long-term sustainability as an independent source of supply.

Developing this strategy required a Systems approach, including determining Functional Requirements and Allocations, conducting Trade-off Analysis, and use of Causal Diagrams. A Sensitivity Analysis investigated the GEM System’s potential impact on reducing DoD’s controversial practice of making lifetime buys of ICs about to be discontinued. Future demand and revenue projections for the GEM System were then modeled to determine the optimum strategy for implementation of an independent GEM System. Detailed descriptions of the IC obsolescence problem, GEM’s value to the DoD, GEM cost and demand data, and future R&D requirements are also included.