Monday, February 15, 2021

Role of VLSI Design Engineer in Internet of Things(IoT) and Machine Learning

“Skill development, speed and scale are the three important aspects that are relevant to the present-day growth and development module”-Narendra Modi

The electronic manufacturing industry has accomplished an impressive development over the past several decades, mostly due to the quick developments in large-scale- integration skills and logic design applications. Very-large-scale-integration (VLSI) is the practice of producing an integrated-circuit (IC) by connecting thousands of transistors into a single chip.

With the introduction of VLSI designs, the number of functions of ICs in high performance computing, telecommunication, computer vision, consumer electronics, automation and machine learning has been rising at a very fast pace.

Computer Science and Electronics Engineering walk hand in hand. Every revolution in software technology requires a better hardware to support it. As the semiconductor manufacturing advances for an association globally, the VLSI design sector anticipates massive opportunities prompoted by requirements from the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), automotive and artificial intelligence driven industries.

So, VLSI, IoT and AI are mutually dependent.

Evolution of IoT has drastically changed the modern living. With trillions of sensors being omnipresent, there has been an exponential growth in VLSI design and hardware needs. Trillions of sensors means VLSI reimagined. VLSI design for IoT chips requires a new mindset.

AI and deep learning are all about massive, so called “embarrassing” parallelism. Efficient hardware architectures may be developed to support machine learning based applications. The market for Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence accelerators is growing rapidly, with most big semiconductor IP/SoC industries like Intel, Samsung, etc. producing their own ML accelerators. Machine learning algorithms could be used to make VLSI procedures more accurate and easier and VLSI verification is also expected to benefit from ML.

VLSI devices nowadays are available all- around us. Highly developed VLSI chips are found in our cars, mobile phones, home appliances, digital camera, medical instruments and many more areas. This fast developing segment proposes enoromus prospects in verification based career opportunities for those with solid basics in electronics designing and hardware-description-languages(HDL), grip in VLSI design and verification and the most significant, the ability to use VLSI concepts to application.

As products like mobile phones are available with new features in short period of time, there is a strong need for qualified VLSI engineers to work on these products. Career in the VLSI industry is of great scope.

As every machine learning engineer might be aware of this very fact that ML models cannot be trained on CPUs due to their inefficiency of dealing with high quality datasets (preferably images and videos). So, the VLSI engineers design GPUs to overcome the problem. Similarly, all kind of hardware that artificial intelligence requires can only be fabricated by VLSI industry.

VLSI specialists are continuously in great demand in the rapidly growing chip designing industry. There are more than 150 companies which includes the giants like Texas Instruments, Mentor Graphics, Freescale Semiconductor, Cadence, HCL, Intel, Lucent, Motorola, Philips Semiconductor, Qualcomm, Wipro and TCS supplying to this industry. A highly paid career opportunity in one of these organisations is in great demand and development of VLSI skills is the only way to make this dream a reality.

The author is Dr. Sharda Vashisth, Associate Professor and HOD, Department of Electrical, Electronics and Communication Engineering , The NorthCap University. For queries, contact at