August 12, 2022, Mesa, Arizona.

 In planning and development for over a year the CHIPS Act is now meeting for the first time the plans and efforts by industry partners to create System On Chip (SOC) Design and Tapeout Classes for colleges and universities throughout the world. Beginning with the 180nm TSMC process node professors and students will now be able to acquaint themselves with the legendary 6502 microprocessor that literally changed the world of computers starting with the Apple-1.

Stephen Cass wrote for the 30 JUN 2017 edition of IEEE Spectrum:  

“When one particular… geek stuck one particular chip into one particular computer circuit board and booted it up, the universe skipped a beat. The geek was Steve Wozniak, the computer was the Apple I, and the chip was the 6502, an 8-bit microprocessor….”

Chip Hall of Fame,

Now students will be able to learn all about the details of the actual CMOS microprocessor still in production and used in the Apple IIc and IIe as well as numerous other systems including life support pacemakers and defibrillators. Students will learn how to apply this seminal microprocessor for embedded intelligence technology (EIT) solutions through SOC Design and Tapeout Classes first taught at ASU from 1994-1998.

This educational opportunity is supported by a collaborative effort by industry-leading companies, TSMC wafer manufacturing, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. tools, CMC Microsystems for cloud services on AWS and The Western Design Center, Inc. (WDC) a Mesa, Arizona company started in 1978.

WDC was the first company to license microprocessors, followed by ARM and now RISC-V, as a business model. WDC became the first microprocessor company to become a fabless semiconductor company as a second source to GTE Microcircuits. GTE was the first licensee of WDC’s 65816 8/16-bit microprocessor used first in the Apple IIgs and licensed Ricoh for the Super Nintendo.

WDC licensed Tanner Research and MOSIS in the 1990s in support of the 6502 Reuse and SOC Design Classes at ASU. The new design approach with GDSII to ASIC and Verilog RTL to ASIC design flow will be taught this fall at a small college, Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.

                             Contact: Bill Mensch, WDC Founder and CEO –