Worlds of Hardware

The Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering, in collaboration with the semiconductor industry, recently held an event titled “Worlds of Hardware.”

The aim of the event was to provide students better exposure to hardware engineering. Speakers explained how hardware engineering is rapidly changing and evolving and gave examples of the kind of challenges engineers are solving in the industry today.

Israel is a global center for chip design.

The event included a presentation of the various tracks that students could pursue. In the “World of Students” section, the students were shown the different courses, labs, and projects included in electrical engineering and computer engineering degrees in the field of hardware design.

In “World of Research,” research labs from the faculty presented their work, including graduate students’ posters and lab demos. In the “World of Career” booths, ten semiconductor companies demonstrated their most advanced technologies. Some 800 students participated in the event.

Israel is a global center for chip design. In recent years, increasingly advanced functionalities are performed not on the software (programming) but on the hardware level.

Consequently, hardware engineers are in increasing demand, not only in the traditional semiconductor industry but also in software corporations like Google, Microsoft, and Meta (Facebook). Technion alumni form an important part of this industry.

A chip is like a city of technologies

Speakers at the event included Evelyn Landman, Co-Founder and CTO at ProteanTecs; Guy Azrad, Vice President of Chip Design Engineering at Google; Ido Bukspan, Vice President of Chip Design at NVIDIA; and Tal Inbar, Senior Director of System on Chip Engineering at Apple.

“A decade ago, the dominant paradigm in hardware was that as transistors are becoming smaller, one need only cram more transistors on the same chip to make it more efficient,” Guy Azrad from Google told the students. “These days, we’ve just about reached the physical limits of how small a transistor can be. So, we have to design smarter.”

“Designing hardware is becoming increasingly challenging, and increasingly interesting,” added Tal Inbar from Apple.

“It is also increasingly rewarding. Doing things in hardware is significantly more efficient than doing them in software, in terms of both power and performance. Through smart design, we get to push the limits of the possible.”

“There are many different technologies all combined on every single chip,” Ido Bukspan from NVIDIA explained.

“Consider for example systems like lab-on-chip, a device only square millimetres in size, which can perform laboratory functions – how many different technologies must be incorporated inside.

A chip is like a city of technologies. Balancing them all so the chip functions properly – to me that’s engineering at its finest.”

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