Purdue Chip-to-chip Wireless Data using 40 GHz Transceiver Wins IC Design Competition Sponsored by SRC and SIA

Texas A&M and Carnegie Mellon Teams also Take Top Prizes

Feb 9, 2009

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the world's leading university research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, today named a team of graduate students from Purdue University as winners in the SRC/SIA IC Design Challenge. The Purdue team's winning design was for a chip-to-chip wireless data link using a 60 GHz transceiver. More than 47 teams from 28 universities competed to design circuits with potential future electronic applications.

Teams from Texas A&M University and Carnegie Mellon University took second and third places. Awards were made yesterday at the 2009 International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco.

The SRC/SIA IC Design Challenge was sponsored by major companies and organizations of the semiconductor industry, including Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), Advanced Micro Devices, Analog Devices, Cadence Design Systems, Freescale Semiconductor, IBM, Intel, Intersil, Jazz Semiconductor, LSI, Mentor Graphics, National Semiconductor, Nvidia, Quik-Pak, and Texas Instruments. These companies contributed over $500,000 to sponsor this contest that began in September 2007. The top eight teams from Phase 1 were selected in March 2008 and then competed in Phase 2 by demonstrating their design ideas on actual silicon, completing layout and fabrication on 180nm SiGe technology courtesy of sponsor Jazz Semiconductor.

The purpose of the IC Design Challenge is to encourage university faculty and their graduate students to create novel, high-performance circuit designs that make end products more competitive. The contest was also intended to promote education in design of high-performance integrated circuits.

High performance IC circuits often have millions of transistors and involve complex digital, mixed-signal, and sometimes RF circuits. Engineering students learning design of integrated circuits rarely get the opportunity to take a design through all the steps of circuit fabrication in an advanced technology because of the high cost involved. The contest judges selected the top three teams based on the teams' design and successful demonstration of a creative high performance application including fabrication, test, and characterization of their circuits.

The Purdue team of five students, led by Professor Byunghoo Jung and his assistant team leader, Professor Dimitrious Peroulis, placed first in both Phase 1 and 2 for their entry, "Chip-to-chip Wireless Data Link using U-band Transceiver." Professor Jung is no stranger to design contests, having won a prior SRC design contest as a student at University of Minnesota, and more recently helping to organize and run design contests himself for other key events. The demands for high data communication bandwidth are ever increasing.

"The simulation and measurement results proves that the proposed wireless chip-to-chip link is a promising candidate for reliable and power efficient high-speed data links, and demonstrate the feasibility of wireless multi-chip, multi-board, multi-core, and their hybrid networks," says Professor Jung.

The Texas A&M team of two students, led by Professor Edgar Sanchez-Sinencio and assistant lead Professor Kamran Entesari, took second place with their entry, "A Dual-band Millimeter-wave Receiver using SiGe Technology." The team of three students from Carnegie Mellon University, led by Professor Tamal Mukherjee and assistant lead Professor Gary Fedder, came in third in the competition with their entry, "A Tunable Multiband RF MEMS Transceiver Front-end."

About SRC
Celebrating 27 years of collaborative research for the semiconductor industry, SRC defines industry needs, invests in and manages the research that gives its members a competitive advantage in the dynamic global marketplace. Awarded the National Medal of Technology, America's highest recognition for contributions to technology, SRC expands the industry knowledge base and attracts premier students to help innovate and transfer semiconductor technology.

About SIA
The SIA is the leading voice for the semiconductor industry and has represented U.S. semiconductor companies since 1977. Collectively, the chip industry employs a domestic workforce of approximately 200,000 people. The semiconductor industry is America's second-largest exporting industry. More information about the SIA can be found at http://www.sia-online.org/.

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