A 40 nanometer fab will be built in India soon, including the modernisation of Semiconductor Lab (SCL). In the last 12 months, India has seen a significant amount of activity and growth in design and innovation systems, said Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

One will also hear about the building of a research fab complex around SCL called the India Semiconductor Research Centre and one or two packaging units being a part of the overall semiconductor ecosystem that is being slowly, steadily and systematically being built. This shows that India is and will emerge as one pillar/pole in the multi-polar semiconductor, semiconductor innovation and semiconductor supply chain for the global enterprises and the global ecosystem of electronics, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in December 2021, sanctioned a $10-billion semiconductor mission on top of the already $20 billion set to grow the electronics industry. This is showing results, he said after inaugurating (virtually) the ‘Veena and Pratap Subrahmanyam Centre for Digital Intelligence, Security Hardware and Architecture’ at IIT Madras in the presence of the institute’s director, V Kamakoti.

India has an unprecedented opportunity to capitalise on major trends that are happening globally. They are the acceleration of technology, digitalisation of the world and demand for digital talent and trusted sources of technology. India sits at the intersection of all these trends and an opportunity to achieve the goal of a $1 trillion digital economy that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set, the said the Minister.

The centre has been made possible with the contribution of ₹6.76 crore from Shri. Pratap Subrahmanyam, an IIT Madras Alumnus of the 1985 Batch (BT/ME) and a Fellow at VMware, Inc.

In addition, the ‘MacDermid Alpha Center of Excellence in Electronics Assembly and Skills Development’ was also inaugurated on the occasion. It is an automatic PCB assembly facility established at the Central Electronics Center of IIT Madras, with the support of Cookson India’s (MacDermid Alpha) CSR activity. It aims to train about 1,000 engineers and diploma holders per year. Apprenticeship is a part of this program.

The Centre will also have an AI-ML Accelerator. Traditional computers cannot handle emerging AI applications as their architectures are more tuned towards general purpose computation. Running intelligence applications on the edge becomes even more challenging due to power constraints. The need of the hour is to have a new class of computers that meets the latency and power requirements of AI applications, says a release from IIT Madras.

Kamakoti said, “We need a platform where we learn by experimentation rather than learn from the books, specifically, in the area of computer architecture. With the growth that we are seeing, any book written now will become outdated in a matter of 8 to 10 months. The best way of educating computer architecture organisation operating systems is to basically do by experimentation. We wanted to create a platform wherein we can perform this. This centre has helped in achieving this goal.”