ISA initiatives bode well for semicon

July 12, 2007

When the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) started functioning from way back in Nov. 2004, it had three main objectives. These were: bringing the Indian semicon industry together; ensure that the Indian government paid enough attention to this sector; and finally, putting together a semicon policy.

ISA has since come a long way. S. Janakiraman, president and CEO – R&D Services, Mindtree, and chairman, ISA, says that the ISA is now transitioning into putting systems and processes in place.

The ISA also has three special interest groups, focusing on market research, technology and talent. The market research aspect is more in terms of reference data and in terms of opportunities.

As far as technology aspect is concerned, mixed-signal is fast becoming a reality. The process geometry of semicon has been shrinking from 90nm to 65nm and even 32nm.

Design and manufacturing used to be fairly independent earlier. However, they are fairly coupled now. All of these changes need to be addressed, according to Jani Sir. The ISA SIG on technology would be studying and recommending how to implement, keep track and stay ahead of technology.

Talent is an extremely critical area! The depth of knowledge is in danger of drying out soon! ISA feels that there is a need for a lot of faculty retraining and change in curriculum. The industry also needs to collaborate with the academia.

To address this, ISA has collaborated with the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Karnataka’s nodal body for engineering education to form the the ISA-VTU understanding. This is a comprehensive initiative, which seeks to catalyze talent generation through enhanced industry-academia interaction. The VLSI Society of India (VSI) will partner and support ISA on this initiative in specific areas.

Established in 1998, Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) is headquartered at Belgaum. Presently there are 120 engineering colleges affiliated to VTU. Of these, five colleges offer a post graduate degree in VLSI design and embedded software.

Key aspects of the ISA-VTU initiative are as follows:

* Creation of a Semiconductor Research Consortium-like forum for India that would foster industry-oriented research;
* Facilitation of software acquisition in identified educational institutions;
* Create and support a repository of student projects;
* Faculty development through increased industry interaction and exposure; and
* Augmenting the curriculum evolved by SMDP/ VSI/ Universities in practicals and projects

The ISA also has another program, called the Si-Quest. The Si-Quest is a pioneering semiconductor campus awareness program aimed at talent generation from a broad-based quality talent pool in India. Its nationwide campus coverage, coupled with various awareness campaigns, will attract more and better candidates towards semiconductor industry. All of these bode well for the industry.

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