Indian Govt To Equip 100 Colleges With Chip Design Tools

The Indian government isn’t only attracting global chip manufacturers to set up shop in India — it’s also creating a workforce that’ll be able to serve these companies.

The Indian government is equipping more than 100 colleges with Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools from global companies including Siemens, Synopsys and Cadence. These specialized tools will help graduating students be industry-ready for India’s upcoming semiconductor sector industry. These tools are extremely expensive and aren’t practical for individual students to purchase.

“We’ve provided our software at a donation price to colleges,” Siemens EDA country manager Ruchir Dixit said. “This saves colleges the trouble of chasing for these tools individually, and it also allows the suite of tools to train multiple people at the same time,” he added.

EDA tools are software tools used for designing electronic systems such as integrated circuits and printed circuit boards. The tools work together in a design flow that chip designers use to design and analyze entire semiconductor chips. Since a modern semiconductor chip can have billions of components, EDA tools are essential for their design, and help designers create a chip using software before it’s actually fabricated in a factory.

The three companies which make EDA tools are contributing in different ways — Siemens has been working with the IT ministry to create an EDA tools grid as a part of design-linked incentive scheme for chip startups. Synopsys has partnered with IIT Bombay, Indian Institute of Science, and Jadavpur University to develop talent for the chip industry and address workforce shortage as a part of Synopsys Academic & Research Alliances (SARA) programme. Meanwhile, 350 engineering colleges in India have access to Cadence’s suite of EDA technologies.

“Students can design sub-components of a chip that goes into a mobile phone, which is an extremely complex process with these tools. Subsequent batches of students can build on what their predecessors did with the tools provided. Post their graduation, a startup may emerge with the skills they were enabled with in college,” Siemens’ Ruchir Dixit said.

The government, meanwhile, has been looking to attract investment in the chips industry in the country on a war footing. American semiconductor giant Micron is building a giant semiconductor factory in Sanand, Gujarat with a $2.5 billion investment. The government has also approved three additional semiconductor units, two in Gujarat and one in Assam, as a part of a larger semiconductors push that aims to establish India as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM). And with the government also helping colleges train students in chip design, it appears to be simultaneously readying the talent that’ll work on India’s semiconductor mission.