TU Dresden: "Cool Silicon Cluster"
The aim of the Leading-Edge Cluster "Cool Silicon" is to build the technology basis for a massive increase in energy efficiency in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. "Silicon Saxony" already holds a leading position in the field of microelectronics. More than 50 per cent of chips built in Europe are produced in Dresden. In the Dresden area, around 48.000 people work in microelectronics and ICT. They generate an annual turnover of more than 10 billion Euros.
Because of its strategic relevance to economic growth, ICT is the key market for semiconductor products. As technology driver and volume market, it defines the requirements to which R&D and production have to be tuned. However, the steady growth in the ICT sector has a significant ecological footprint: 2 per cent of global CO2 emissions are caused by ICT systems today - one fourth of the emissions caused by cars. The energy costs for running ICT infrastructure have turned into a significant economic factor.
Therefore, the most urgent challenge in the area of micro- and nanotechnology lies in achieving a significant increase in energy efficiency. Considerable improvements in this area can only be achieved by disruptive innovations and new system approaches, which rely on a combination of excellent R&D and world leading know-how of semiconductor production. The cluster's aim is to tackle the challenge of energy efficiency in ICT systems, and become the world leading site for energy efficient electronics products.
Research within the cluster is conducted in three areas: Area 1 is concerned with the development of basic technology for energy-efficient ICT-products and their application in computers. The optimisation of modern mobile communications systems' software and hardware is dealt with in area 2. In area 3 energy-self-sufficient and wireless sensor networks systems are developed.
Furthermore, "Cool Silicon" comprises other central projects dealing with education, communicating the cluster's aims to the public and the founding of new companies. For instance, a multimedia exhibition and new study programmes at participating universities are planned as part of these projects. In an art project, the cluster is probing new ways of communication: The artistic interpretations of the cluster's goals aim at familiarising general public with "Cool Silicon's" high technology.