Electronic Products & Technology

Semiconductor chip design course attracts Canadian graduate students

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No other organization offers such a course based on the most advanced semiconductor chip processes in Canada

A unique course for designing integrated semiconductor chips conceived and organized by Gayathri Singh, team leader for Microelectronics at CMC Microsystems is a hot ticket with graduate students at Canadian universities. No other organization in Canada offers such a course based on the most advanced semiconductor chip processes in existence.

The May 10 to May 21 (2021) online event is fully subscribed with 30 university researchers and graduate students across Canada taking part.

Commenting on how she designed the course, Dr. Singh said: “I wanted to base the content on leading edge semiconductor technology. It is exciting and gratifying to see the interest in the program. I am most grateful to our industrial partners who joined together to provide vital support to the program”, she said.


Dr. Singh earned her Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s University. She worked as Senior Component Design Engineer at Intel, India at their Bangalore Design Center between 2005 and 2008. This advanced course trains students and researchers in the Analog-Mixed Signal Design Methodology using Cadence tools, which target the GlobalFoundries GF12LP FinFET / PDK (Process Design Kit).

FinFET transistors are key components

The training content and material for the course was developed by Cadence Design Systems Canada Ltd. Skills learned are consistent with those of engineers designing chips at top flight technology companies in Canada including AMD, Alphawave IP and StarIC.

Participants. must have had prior experience with semiconductor chip design and familiarity with state-of-the-art design tools. Participants, which include CMC staff members, learn about one of the most advanced semiconductor chip processes in North America. The FinFET transistors are key components right down to 2nm process nodes in development in the world’s most advanced fabrication facilities. Actual fabrication of the chip designs created by participants will be done through GlobalFoundries facilitated by CMC.

Skills learned contribute to the overall knowledge

Participants will be submitting design proposals in the fall of 2021 that will be reviewed by experts. Another workshop style session is planned for the winter next year before these designs are taped out so designers can consult with experts from Cadence, companies and academe prior to submitting their designs for fabrication.

CMC Microsystems enables industry relevant technology research at 60 post-secondary institutions across Canada. CMC programs and services provide researchers with access and training throughout the integrated chip design life cycle from software design through actual manufacturing and testing of silicon chips. The skills learned in this course contribute to the overall knowledge and training of university graduates in semiconductor related technologies. The knowledge and skills are highly relevant and desirable to industry.

According to Marie Thiele, director of common services for CMC, the game plan is to open the program more widely in the future. “Our training platform is especially valuable in times of virtual training, bringing together participants from across Canada, suppliers from other countries, and CMC employees onto our secure design tools and training”, said Thiele.



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