The Intelligence Community is well known to be a major consumer of high performance computing, but is increasingly finding itself frustrated by limitations in overall power consumption and clock speed. The amazing successes of semiconductor technology embodied in Moore’s Law give the impression that computing power might continue on its exponential growth curve indefinitely. However there are limits of miniaturization and switching speeds imposed by physics as applied to semiconductors, and these limits are now being felt. Clock speeds are starting to stagnate, and device features are now only a few tens of atoms in size, and so the search for alternative high speed and low power technologies must move on to more exotic materials and design concepts

Superconducting Electronics (SCE) offers a promising alternative to complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology. However, as with many disruptive technologies, in order to displace the reigning champion, there is a lot of ground to make up. New pulse-based logic families operating at very low power levels are starting to be developed, but if they are to compete with semiconductors, they will have to show performance advantages for highly complex circuits. The semiconductor industry has had the advantage of decades of development of ever more sophisticated design tools that keep creating ever more sophisticated circuits.

Contact Information

Program Manager

Dr. Mark Heiligman

Research Area(s)

Cryogenic computing, Superconducting electronics

Related Program(s)

Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)

Link(s) to BAA


Solicitation Status


Proposers' Day Date

February 10, 2016

BAA Release Date

June 7, 2016

BAA Question Period

June 7, 2016 — June 30, 2016

Proposal Due Date

Monday, 01 August 2016

Prime Performers

  • University of Southern California
  • Synopsys Inc.

Additional Information