Two years of hard work has culminated in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) successfully developing the first microelectronic chip for academic and research development purposes in the country with the expertise of the Collaborative Electronic Design Excellence Centre (CEDEC).
Known as the CEDEC Standard Cell Library (a computer chip with the potential of accelerating the digital design process) is equipped with Silterra 180 nm CMOS technology. It is the first of its kind designed by local experts.
The Standard Cell is guaranteed to provide a new dimension to higher education as it is also an integrated digital circuit chip designed for both the academic and research fields.
The Director of CEDEC, Assoc. Prof. Othman Sidek said that USM had the full cooperation of two well-known private agencies in the field of microelectronics, that is, Design Technology Silterra Malaysia Sdn. Bhd and Emerald System Sdn. Bhd. in the development of the Standard Cell.
He said that the standard cell represents important blocks in digital design. Commercially its use is limited and was believed to restrict academic and research activities.
‘Realising the weakness of the existing standard cell in the area of academics and research, CEDEC as a centre responsible for development in the field of microelectronics, had intensified its efforts to overcome the problem.’
This personal initiative to develop the standard cell was taken to provide an opportunity to academia and researchers to maximize efforts in improving the quality of their research. At the same time, it is also an opportunity to showcase the credibility of local designers from the academic circle.
He said this at a press conference held after the CEDEC Standard Cell Library Launching Ceremony officiated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation USM, Prof. Asma Ismail, here today.
Also present were Senior Vice-President of Design Technology Silterra Malaysia Sdn. Bhd, Dr. Narain Arora and the Director of Design Engineering Services Emerald System, En. Azrul Abdul Halim.
Assoc. Prof. Othman added that the hard work and dedication of CEDEC also gave academia and researchers a wider scope for creativity as they are not only able to utilize the cell in its entirety but also to modify the existing design to their specifications.
‘All of this was designed for the benefit of local universities that wish to follow the initiative of CEDEC in improving the microelectronic system used by local academics and researchers, he said.
CEDEC, which also functions as a Centre of Excellence under the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) is assisting the government in providing advanced facilities and equipment specifically for researchers, academics, lecturers and university students. This is a form of practical assistance to ensure that the products made by the university not only meet industrial standards but are competitive as well.
Prof. Asma, in her opening speech stressed that the time has come for local experts in the various fields to prove their abilities while at the same time moving forward to compete at a global level.
‘The academia should not to be excluded. They should be given the opportunity to prove that their achievements are on par with industry players. The academia will become irrelevant if they remain tied to and dependent upon the field of academics only.’
‘ The nation needs its own technology to ensure that it continues to compete globally. Now is the time for all parties, regardless of whether it is the academia, the industrial or public sector to work together to penetrate the global arena’, she said.
Mohamad Abdullah | ResearchSEA
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