BANGALORE, India BITSConnect, an association of alumni, faculty and current students of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, has established a semiconductor R&D lab that the group says is the first campus-based VLSI design facility in India.
The move could advance India's efforts to establish a global reputation in chip design.
With more than $50 million worth of equipment and EDA tools provided thus far from corporate partners, the Oysters Lab at BITS (Olab) puts the engineering school in the elite company of a handful of institutions worldwide that have
The lab is named for "nature's best-known crafters, the oysters, who with perseverance transform tiny dots of sand into pearls," said Rajendra Khare, managing director of Broadcom (India) and a BITS alumnus. Olab, Khare said, will "create pearls of intellectual property on silicon, a more refined form of sand."
With suites of EDA software and a powerful computing infrastructure in place, Olab is co-located in a 2,000-square-foot facility at the BITS campus in Pilani, in northwest India, and at a center in Bangalore headquarters for most of the country's homegrown semiconductor companies and the Indian affiliates of global chip makers to facilitate active industry collaboration. The distributed VLSI lab will connect all BITS campuses with the centers in Bangalore and Pilani.
EDA software and design workstations worth more than $50 million have already been provided by such corporate partners as Open Silicon, Broadcom, Magma Design Automation, Mentor Graphics and Sun Microsystems, according to BITS-Connect.
"Olab will usher in a silicon technology research and chip development revolution in India," BITS vice chancellor S. Venkateswaran predicted, praising the "spirit of voluntary collaboration" among the project's diverse stakeholders. The effort, Venkateswaran said, transforms BITS "into a virtual university that can create a global impact on technology research, development and education."
BITSConnect is a global association that brings together the institute's alumni, faculty and students. BITS alumni who have risen to prominence in the industry include Vivek Paul, vice chairman and president of Wipro Technologies; Satish Gupta, co-founder of Cradle Technologies Inc.; Sabeer Bhatia, co-founder of Hotmail; and Vinod Agarwal, chief executive officer of Logicvision Inc.