Cadence Design Systems, Inc., the world's leading supplier of electronic design products and services, and the College of Engineering at California State University, Long Beach, have established a partnership to develop a "flagship" model including a specially designed curriculum and internship program that will offer students a hands-on, practical knowledge of the complex process of integrated circuit (IC) design.
Top officials from Cadence and Cal State Long Beach took part in a ceremony on Tuesday (March 27) in the Vivian Engineering Center to officially announce the three-year, renewable agreement. The event featured presentations by Cadence CEO Ray Bingham, CSULB President Robert C. Maxson and Sandra Cynar, professor and chair of the CSULB Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department.
It also included a tour of the newly established CSULB Center for Electronic Design Automation, which was made possible through Cadence's donation of cash and equipment. In all, the firm is expected to invest more than $2 million over the project's first three years, in addition to a substantial gift of valuable software to support the instructional and research functions of the Cadence Laboratory and the College of Engineering. Cadence expects to invest an additional $4.2 million to propagate this program to other California State University campuses and institutions.
"We are pleased that Cadence Design Systems has chosen Cal State Long Beach as its pilot campus for this project," said CSULB President Maxson. "Its selection is recognition of the quality of our Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department, which we understand was the first in the nation to be accredited in both areas."
Cadence's primary objective for the long-term partnership with CSULB is to raise the general level of EDA tool usage in academia, leading to future design engineers who are more EDA-literate, which enhances the health of the EDA industry. By developing students' skills around Cadence products, the company can potentially reduce new-hire training costs for itself and its customers, and it will improve early productivity when graduates are employed.
"This partnership is a great opportunity to help develop the knowledge supply chain that high-technology companies like Cadence desire in this increasingly competitive, knowledge-based global marketplace," noted Cadence CEO Bingham. "It is in our best interest not only as a corporation, but also as a nation, to see the high-tech, professional workforce of the future."
According to Cadence officials, CSULB was chosen as the initial site for the partnership because it has one of the largest and most successful computer engineering and computer science (CECS) programs in the state. Overall, the CSULB College of Engineering has more than 3,000 students, 45 percent of whom are computer engineering or computer science majors. In addition, CECS graduates from CSULB boast a 100 percent employment rate within 90 days of graduation.
Aside from already-donated cash, software and equipment, Cadence has made a commitment to provide 10 full-fee student scholarships, six initial internships (a number that is expected to grow), a CSULB resident project manager to oversee internship projects full time, ongoing technical support and learning materials to assist with curriculum development, and subject matter experts for project support and curriculum development.
In addition, Quickturn—a Cadence company—is donating two Rapid Prototyping Systems to the curriculum laboratories to provide advanced tools in the area of verification engineering, one of the most critical elements of the electronic design cycle. These tools allow engineers to simulate their hardware design and verify that it works, which saves significant expense and time during the design process. Teaching students to use these tools is just one example of how Cadence and CSULB are providing students with practical experience that would otherwise take them years to acquire in the workplace.
Ed Evans, professor of computer engineering and computer science, and Ken James, professor of electrical engineering, are already developing a curriculum for courses that will teach the IC design flow process using the Cadence comprehensive suite of design tools.
"It's fantastic that our students have full access to the most modern and impressive design tools of their type," said Michael Mahoney, dean of the College of Engineering. "Working under the supervision of outstanding faculty across three disciplines and with support from Cadence engineers, our students will get the practical work experience that will make them employable at a higher level than if they graduated with only a degree."
It is very difficult and time consuming for faculty to develop new course projects that reflect changes in technology in such rapidly changing disciplines. However, student interns will be given actual work projects under the supervision of Cadence design engineers, and since the students can also get internship academic credit, they can help to improve the curriculum by doing projects useful to the faculty.
"This is clearly a win-win situation for Cadence, Cal State Long Beach and the high-tech industry," said Terry Yee, Cadence's project director at CSULB. "Cadence and the rest of the high-tech industry will be able to hire engineers who already have experience using state-of-the-art design tools. At the same time, the university will be able to attract students to the campus because of its ability to teach them how to use these tools."
Seattle-based WRQ, Inc., a host access and enterprise integration software company, donated 350 licenses of Reflection X, its PC/UNIX integration product. Reflection X enables the university´s Windows NT users to con- nect to the UNIX-based Cadence applications. WRQ also committed unlimited technical support to the project.
"WRQ is deeply committed to bringing new technologies to the future employees of the high technology marketplace," said Randy Robinson, vice president, Reflection Business Unit, WRQ, Inc. "We are confident that Reflection is an excellent match for the other solutions involved in this innovative project. It is our privilege to make WRQ Reflection X software available to the students at Cal State Long Beach, to be used in conjunction with the Cadence Design Systems electronic design software."
Cadence Design Systems, Inc. is the world's leading supplier of electronic design automation products, methodology services and design services used to accelerate and manage the design of semiconductors, computer systems, networking and telecommunications equipment, consumer electronics and a variety of other electronic-based products.