Driving force of academic activity in microelectronics

Driving force of academic activity in microelectronics

Cadence, a company providing the expertise and tools, IP and hardware required for electronics design chain, are helping semiconductor companies to create innovative products, conducting very extensive university programmes, including various events and activities.

The most recent Cadence initiative is a yearly contest for the best master thesis among electronic engineering students. The first winners were announced during the CDNLive 2019 conference in Munich last May. Cadence has already received a large amount of impressive submissions. Participation in the contest offers several benefits to students: the winning master thesis will present at the CDNLive conference and will also receive a non-monetary prize with a maximum value of $500. This contest is open to participants from EMEA countries.

The first Best Paper Award in 2019 was awarded to Jens Karrenbauer from Leibniz University Hannover for his thesis: ‘Automated Design Space Exploration of Digital Audio Processors for Hearing Aids’.

Ye Ding from Technical University Munich received the second Best Paper Award for the thesis: ‘Procedural Capacitor Placement and Routing in Charge Redistribution ADCs with Generalised Capacitor Ratios by Nonlinearity Analysis Considering Parasitics’.

Special mention was made to Marcel Mettler from TU Munich for his master thesis on EDA research called: ‘Deep Learning Techniques to Improve the Synthesis of Application-specific NoCs’.

Cadence is also a vendor for the European initiative, Europractice. Through this project European universities will be able to access EDA technology and manufacturing capabilities. Via Europractice, Cadence is currently working with 380 universities across Europe and Russia. The aim is to make sure that students already in the university have access to the same technology that they will use after their graduation, when hired by companies.

The technology, available for universities, is the same technology that is available for Cadence customers. The value of the technology available to the students is around $11m a year. Students use Cadence technology at different levels of their studies – for undergraduate, master or postgraduate research work.

Cadence don’t have visibility of every single project but can specify how each university use the technology. Only certain projects are receiving special attention from Cadence, for example, particular collaboration projects.

Cadence technology is quite complex, so it’s important for the company to make sure that universities are getting all the necessary support for successful project implementation, including training and software installation.

Cadence also offers a Rapid Adoption Kit, and a PDK for easy setup of the development tool at the workstation. It helps users to apply new technologies into their workflow. RAK design is based on customers’ feedback about design, analysis and other requirements.

Cadence also provides Digital Badges for their training courses. These badges describe the mastery level of certain skills or technology. Digital badges help employers and customers to estimate the knowledge level of future employees. The badge can be integrated into the LinkedIn or e-mail signature.

If a university wants to participate in the Cadence Academic Programme, they have to make sure that Cadence is competitive in terms of the university’s research conditions and goals.

Universities can have full or software membership level in the Cadence programme. Software membership means that universities will only use the software for simulation purposes and not the foundry of manufacturing capabilities. Full membership level means access to both software and foundry facilities.

Cadence is also running internship programmes for students globally. In 2018, there were about 300-350 interns globally (in North America, India, Europe and Asia). Interns can later continue employment at Cadence. The purpose of this internship is to make sure that interns have enough qualifications to continue to work at Cadence or one of the company’s customers. Interns are usually very well incorporated into Cadence’s development work.

In order to become an intern, students must be a master or PhD student – university graduates are eligible for internship on occasions. PhD students can also be hired by Cadence to work on specific research. Cadence has a strong relationship with professors in universities which helps to promote certain research positions among PhD students.

Cadence is aiming to provide enough flexibility for students to conduct their studies, offering internships during the year. And Cadence is currently supporting a range of conferences globally, including NewCas, SMCAD, PRIME, DATE (Design, automation, and test in Europe conference), ETS (IEEE European Test Symposium).