With the rapid advancement of design applications in 5G, AI, and high-performance computing, it is becoming increasingly challenging for IC design to continually innovate to achieve the desired logic density and die cost reduction. To ensure the competitiveness in power, performance, and area (PPA) of end products, TSMC launched the “Advanced IC Design Program” to cultivate top IC design and layout talent well-versed in design & technology co-optimization (DTCO). TSMC’s experts completed the first semester of teaching at National Tsing Hua University in January 2022, with over 155 students participating. 97% of the students responded in the questionnaire that they had a better understanding on the new challenges and innovative solutions of IC design in advanced technology after the course. Linking academic knowledge with industrial applications, TSMC continues to inject new momentum into the development of semiconductor industry talent.
Enhancing the Competitiveness of Domestic Advanced IC Design Through Industry-academia Cooperation
Facing the continuous evolution of advanced technologies, it is increasingly important to have talents who can work closely with the process R&D team that have expertise in IC design and layout. Based on the TSMC-NTUT IC Layout and Design Course which has entered its sixth year, TSMC further developed the “Advanced IC Design Program” in 2020. Professionals from the TSMC Design and Technology Platform (DTP) carefully developed course materials aiming to expand the original IC layout courses into a comprehensive IC design program. The pre-course was developed to provide students a preliminary understanding on IC design and layout in advanced technologies. Through the required and elective courses planned with industrial application experience, students will acquire core IC design knowledge from the program. Through discussion of industrial case studies, the instructors from DTP guide students to learn about how TSMC maintains its technology leadership while shortening customers' time-to-market with DTCO design solutions, including electronic design automation (EDA), tool certification and design flow enablement for each new process technology.
Overview of Course Contents in TSMC Advanced IC Design Program
TSMC’s Advanced IC Design Program was initiated in September 2021, and will continue to gradually expand to more universities. It is expected that there will be more than 400 students participating in 2022. A differentiated competitive compensation package is offered to students who have completed the program to join TSMC and apply what they have learned. TSMC endeavors to strengthen the competitiveness of talents in the semiconductor industry and establish a solid foundation for the sustainable development of science and technology.
TSMC's Advanced IC Design Program is very helpful in bridging the industry-academia gap. With TSMC instructors offering first-hand industrial knowledge, students get a more concrete sense of the industry's demand and the most up-to-date advanced process technologies. The program also helps students better identify their future goals and career plans.
I highly recommend that everyone participates in the Advanced IC Design Program. Through case studies shared by TSMC’s instructors, you can gain more knowledge of different fields and have better communication and cooperation with other teams in the future in order to enhance self-competitiveness.