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VLSI Design Conference 2006: An Overview

Posted: 02 Feb 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:International Conference on VLSI Design  International Conference on Embedded Systems  2006  Hyderabad  Taj Krishna 

The 19th International Conference on VLSI Design and 5th International Conference on Embedded Systems held Hyderabad Jan. 3-7 saw close to 1,000 participants. The event offered a series of regular paper sessions, special sessions, tutorials, panel discussions and an exhibition of design tools and semiconductor solutions.

A five-day programme
Of the 328 technical papers from 19 different countries, the conference committee selected 136 papers. Some of these were presented at sessions on analogue design, VLSI technology, interconnects, testing and verification, communications, architecture and embedded systems, synthesis, and low-power design.

Dr. Dwight Drewer, Chairman, Conexant Systems, provided business insight to a packed session on the morning of January 6. His view is that in the current situation, cost and technological complexity become entry barriers particularly at the technology level of 65nm or below. Indian IC design services companies could modify their business model to adapt to this situation?go beyond providing "foundation IP" and "enabling IP," to producing "integratable IP blocks" for emerging systems and applications that would have a higher volume of demand (see Conexant CEO calls for new semiconductor business model).

In the mobile embedded systems theme, the conference featured areas that included architecture, graphic displays, screen size, expansion capabilities, and physical dimensions. Other sessions covered key technologies across system categories, addressing the requirements of VLSI designers.

On a parallel track was an exhibition by players in the VLSI industry, consisting of 45 exhibits, that was free and open to the public from Jan. 5-7. The exhibits spanned products in the categories of ICs and embedded systems, devices and components. Exhibitors were providers of EDA tools, integrated semiconductor systems, and VLSI design services and products.

Expanding role of the conference
The International Conference on VLSI Design was initiated in 1985 as a small workshop at IIT-Madras (Chennai) by Vishwani Agrawal, Auburn University, and H.N. Mahabala of IIT-Madras.

Explaining the aim of the conference, Vishwani Agrawal said, "The fundamental reason for the conference is to provide VLSI engineers in the country an opportunity to interact with faculty and industry, and gain exposure to new ideas and advances in technology. Faculty is able to develop a perspective of what students know and what industry needs. Industry provides useful inputs to students on how to update their skills and plan for their career advancement in technology."

The VLSI Society announced last year its vision for 2010?develop a base of 10,000 skilled VLSI professionals, and 2,000 VLSI faculty members. Towards this, the society has arranged courses, workshops, and conferences across the country, covering areas such as verification, low-power design, embedded systems design, signal integrity, custom design, physical design, mixed-signal design, and design-for-test.

"The conference propagates the vision of development in the VLSI industry, bringing in the all-important element of neutrality," added Srimat T Chakradhar, general chair, VLSI Conference. "The event is the outcome of the coordinated efforts of a number of individuals coming together from technology companies and universities with an unbiased agenda. There is a sustained focus towards a common cause of development. The conference has truly become the oldest open source effort in the VLSI industry."

Viewing the conference from another perspective, Apurva Kalia, group director, R&D, Cadence Design Systems (India) said, "The conference increases direct interaction between engineers of the supplying and buying companies. This usually leads to refinements of tools, which in turn lead to refinements in solutions. Also, there is peer to peer collaboration between industry players, at the technical and business levels. Companies could well be actually assessing the potential of collaborating with or acquiring companies with interesting products during this event."

Shot in the arm
"What the Indian VLSI industry needs badly is the emergence of home-grown Indian technology companies of the massive scale of a Wipro or an Infosys," wishes Prathima Agrawal, director, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Auburm University.

She believes that given the emergence of a "killer application," such a scenario could become eminently possible. Trying to map this notion to reality, she said, "There is a distinct possibility of mobile phone penetration growing dramatically. Now, that would be a strong driver of demand for VLSI design services in India."

"The hardware sector would then take off like the software sector did in the 1990s. And, unlike the software sector, the Indian hardware industry would be in a strong position to address the high end of this demand, as the curriculum in electrical engineering and electronics in India's technical institutions, focuses intensely on the fundamentals of VLSI design."

- Krishnan Sivaramakrishnan
EE Times India

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