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MOSIS (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Implementation Service) is multi-project wafer service that provides metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) chip design tools and related services that enable universities, government agencies, research institutes and businesses to prototype chips efficiently and cost-effectively.

Operated by the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (ISI), MOSIS combines customers' orders onto shared multi-project wafers that speed production and reduce costs compared with underutilized single-project wafers. Customers are able to debug and adjust designs, or to commission small-volume runs, without making major production investments. Fabrication costs are also shared by combining multiple designs from a single customer onto one "mask set," or wafer template. According to MOSIS, the service has delivered more than 60,000 integrated circuit designs.[1]

Funded by DARPA,[2] MOSIS was created in 1981 by ISI's Danny Cohen, an Internet pioneer who also developed Voice over Internet Protocol and Video over Internet Protocol.[3] It was based on the revolutionary VLSI design methodology of Carver Mead and Lynn Conway, who pioneered and/or popularized the use of technology-independent design rules and modular cell-based, hierarchical system design, testing this new approach to rapid prototyping and short-run fabrication at Xerox PARC.[4] One of the first e-commerce providers, MOSIS also launched the "fabless foundry" industry, in which vendors outsource chip fabrication rather than manufacturing them in-house.[5] Thousands of students also have learned chip design in MOSIS-associate programs.[6]

Many early MOSIS users were students trying IC layout techniques from the seminal book Introduction to VLSI Design (ISBN 0-201-04358-0) published in 1980 by Caltech professor Carver Mead[7] and MIT professor Lynn Conway.[8][9] Some early reduced instruction set computing (RISC) processors such as MIPS (1984) and SPARC (1987) were run through MOSIS during their early design and testing phases.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MOSIS".
  2. ^ "The MOSIS Service of ISI and SkyWater Collaborate on Silicon IC Design Enablement and Manufacturing Service". USC Viterbi | School of Engineering. Retrieved 2024-05-30.
  3. ^ "Danny Cohen Engineered the Internet to Take Flight". Wired.
  4. ^ "Lynn's Story". Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  5. ^ "Information Sciences Institute - Timeline". Archived from the original on 2013-11-26.
  6. ^ "USC Viterbi School of Engineering : MOSIS Turns 25". Archived from the original on 2006-09-01.
  7. ^ "Winners' Circle: Carver Mead". Archived from the original on 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2005-04-28.
  8. ^ "M.I.T. VLSI Systems Design Class". Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  9. ^ "IEEE History Center - Lynn Conway". 2003-01-02. Archived from the original on 2006-06-18. Retrieved 2004-05-18.

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