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Million-dollar chips

6 December 2007

What started as Ali Dixon’s (MEng 2004) undergraduate computer-science project is now a major semi-conductor business that may revolutionise the consumer electronics market.

What started as Ali Dixon’s (MEng 2004) undergraduate computer-science project is now a major semi-conductor business that may revolutionise the consumer electronics market.

He has now seen his project form the basis of one of the University’s most significant enterprises XMOS Semiconductor, which has secured $16 million venture-capital funding.

Spun out of research from the Department of Computer Science, XMOS has assembled a world-class team of entrepreneurs and scientists led by CEO James Foster and Professor David May.

 XMOS has created a new category of semiconductors, which it calls Software Designed Silicon (SDS). SDS is designed for consumer electronics applications that need high performance, low manufacturing cost and extreme design flexibility. The new design is set to revolutionise the consumer electronics application-specific integrated circuit and application-specific standard product markets.

‘When I was studying I was really excited to see my project materialise into such a significant reality,’ said Ali Dixon. He added: ‘The Bristol region contains the largest cluster of microelectronics design companies in Europe so being based here Science was the right place for me.’