India Democratizes Semiconductor Design

Article By : PIB India

MeitY is in the process of systematic overhaul of semiconductor design approach at 120 premier academic institutions across the country.

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), with its series of graded and proactive steps, is in the process of systematic overhaul of semiconductor design approach at 120 premier academic institutions across the country to debut an era of creative enablement where anyone with innate skills, anywhere in the country can get the semiconductor chips designed.

In the process, chip design will be democratized in line with the vision of  Prime Minister Narendra Modi that “Design in India” is as important as “Make in India”.

Understanding chip design as a strategic necessity, a pilot deployment was successfully tested by MeitY earlier in 2021 under Special Manpower Development Program for Chips to System Design (SMDP-C2SD), wherein a centralized design facility at C-DAC was enabled for remote access by over 50,000 engineering students at 60 academic institutions for designing chips. Leapfrogging, MeitY now intends to make accessible a centralized chip design infrastructure to be made available at India Chip Centre setup at C-DAC, to train 85000+ B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD students at 120 academic institutions across the country in chip design area for the next five years.

For making available the chip design infrastructure at India Chip Centre (C-DAC), leading industry vendors from EDA (electronic design automation), electronic computer-aided design (ECAD), IP core and design solutions industry are being partnered with. Specific collaborative arrangements are being made available with Synopsys, Cadence Design Systems, Siemens EDA, Silvaco, and other leading tool vendors, IP and design solution providers, and fab aggregators.

At the centralized design facility hosted at India Chip Centre (C-DAC), not only the most advanced tools for entire chip design cycle (i.e. front-end design, back-end design, PCB design and analysis, to name a few, for digital, analog, RF and mixed signal designs), going up to 7nm or advanced node, but also an arrangement of instructor-led/online trainings on design flows by industry professionals are being made available for the next five years.

Offering a plethora of design flows, the centralized facility at India Chip Centre (C-DAC), one of the biggest of the existing facilities, aims to bring the chip design infrastructure at doorsteps of over 85,000 students at 120 academic institutions. Taking advantage, several academic start-ups will mushroom across the country, cross the initial entry barriers and pave the way for entrepreneurship/startup-led design and innovations ecosystem in the country, making indigenous IP cores, chips, system on chip (SoCs), and systems for different application areas such as 5G, IoT, AI/ML, automotive, and the mobility sectors, in India, for the world.

With the conclusion of SemiconIndia 2022, most of the global semiconductor leaders like Intel, Micron, Qualcomm, and LAM Research, among others, not only highlighted the contribution of their Indian R&D centers, which are now the biggest centers out of their headquarter locations, but also acknowledged India’s semiconductor design strength, which now makes up for 20% of the world’s engineers.

Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister for Electronics & Information Technology, envisions making available a design talent pool of highly skilled engineers for turning India into a semiconductor hub through the Chips to Startup (C2S) Program, and other initiatives in the government’s semiconductor policy. This will strengthen and supplement the Indian talent pool designing the leading-edge chips for semiconductor giants with complete ownership of some of these chips in the country. Speaking at SemiconIndia 2022, he highlighted that India’s democracy and talent pool sets it apart from other countries fighting for chip sovereignty.

Many co-development pacts were announced at SemiconIndia 2022, by Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology including Digital India RISC-V (DIR-V) Program, aiming to catalyze India’s semiconductor ecosystem. These announcements, coupled with the fact that India has just scored a century of Unicorns and the steps taken to democratize the chip design across the country, are expected to trigger the next wave of startups and unicorns from semiconductor design space in India.


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