Cloud provides chip design education to developing countries
The scarcity in qualified engineers for complex system-on-chip (SoC), particularly in developing countries, has prompted the Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC) and start-up Silicon Cloud International (SCI) of Singapore to create a joint programme that will address this problem.
By deploying electronic design automation (EDA) hardware and software in a private cloud accessible only to researchers and doctoral candidates at universities worldwide, SRC and SCI hope to grow a whole new crop of qualified SoC design engineers in developing countries worldwide.
"All of our programmes have a major chip design component. For instance, SRC has funding now from Abu Dhabi to help improve their university system to meet the unique needs of companies that they want to recruit to come over to Abu Dhabi," Larry Sumney, president and CEO of SRC, told EE Times. "But companies won't come unless there are engineers there to hire, and our new programme with SCI will fulfil that role with its educational agenda."
Silicon Cloud International is a start-up whose sole function is to provide developing countries with the hardware, software, and other necessary intellectual property from a private, internationally accessible cloud to be used exclusively to educate design engineers and facilitate coordinated research projects among professors worldwide.
Cloud-based virtual machines provide the EDA tools, design databases, intellectual property, workflows, and more to universities worldwide that only need thin-clients (Chromebox).
"There are several countries in the world—Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brazil, Pakistan, Slovakia, Algeria, and many more—that have identified chip design as part of their national agenda, as a vehicle to move the country's economy from manufacturing and assembly to a more knowledge-based economy that increases their per capita income and makes them a bigger player in the higher-paying portion of the semiconductor supply chain," Mojy Chian, CEO of SCI, told us.
What has recently intensified this interest, according to Chian, is the Internet of Things (IoT) because, as opposed to the mobile space, which is dominated by a few very large companies, IoT devices are much simpler and more suited to small start-ups. Plus, the IoT has a lot of local applications that create a lot of opportunity for developing countries to become much more involved in the design portion of the semiconductor supply chain.
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