3D-IC provides opportunity to augment India's semiconductor ecosystem

Government policies are creating a conducive environment for investments in technology, enhancing domestic manufacturing capabilities. These are helping to drive growth in semiconductor industry.

Pradeep Chakraborty
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Kripa Venkatachalam, VP, Field Engineering, Cadence Design Systems.

Cadence Design Systems is a leading electronic design automation (EDA) and intelligent system design provider, delivering hardware, software, and IP for electronic design.


Kripa Venkatachalam, VP, Field Engineering, Cadence Design Systems, tells us more about India's journey in the semiconductor industry. Excerpts from an interview

DQ: Elaborate on Cadence’s Intelligent System Design strategy and roadmap for the future.

Kripa Venkatachalam: We are at a confluence of generational trends, such as the advent of 5G, hyperscale computing, autonomous driving, and AI on edge, among others. Taking advantage of these generational trends to solve key consumer challenges requires companies to invest heavily in building a vertically integrated solution. For example, an intelligent car that is built today should optimize across the mechanical systems, underlying semiconductor chips, and software to deliver improved performance, safety, fuel efficiency, and user experience.


Leading companies appreciate this complexity and are actively seeking comprehensive solutions encompassing chips, IP, packages, and systems to meet intricate design requirements. Delivering high-performing and feature-rich systems require intelligent design, seemless integration, and system-level optimization, by leveraging all advanced technology levers such as AI/ML, and cloud computing. Cadence has addressed this change in dynamics through its Intelligent System Design strategy, which encompasses the following key elements:

Design excellence: Cadence offers an optimized electronic design automation (EDA) toolkit comprising tools and IP for semiconductor, package, and PCB design, with scalable distributed computing capabilities in the cloud. This allows customers to solve a broad range of large complex challenges.

System innovation: Expanding beyond EDA to facilitate early software development and to optimize the entire system for various critical factors such as security, responsiveness, power efficiency, electromagnetics, thermal performance, multiphysics considerations, and more.


Pervasive intelligence: Incorporating machine learning (ML) technologies into design tools and workflows to enable the creation of sophisticated systems.

DQ: What are the upcoming trends that will drive the growth of the electronics/chip designing and semiconductor industry in India?

Kripa Venkatachalam: India has always played an important role in the global semiconductor ecosystem. Until recently, the focus in India was primarily limited to designing semiconductor chips and system assembly for global players. There is an accelerated effort towards expanding this scope to encompass all aspects of semiconductor and system design, including chip fabrication. The key factors driving this acceleration include:


Government initiatives: Government policies are creating a conducive environment for investments in technology, enhancing domestic manufacturing capabilities, and reducing import dependency. These initiatives are helping to drive growth in the semiconductor industry.

Increased focus on semiconductor manufacturing: India is increasingly seen as the next up-and-coming destination for semiconductor manufacturing, spurred by global supply chain realignments and the Indian government's push to establish semiconductor fabrication plants (fabs). This move towards self-reliance in semiconductor production is attracting substantial domestic and international investments and spurring partnerships with global semiconductor leaders.

Further growth in the design and innovation ecosystem: India is already recognized globally as a chip design powerhouse. According to IESA, 20% of the world’s chip designers work out of India. Initiatives like the India Semiconductor Mission strengthen the design and innovation ecosystem, which will be crucial for developing more intellectual property (IP) and design startups in India.


Strengthening of supply chains: The disruption during the pandemic has highlighted the need for more resilient and diversified supply chains. India is strategically positioned to become an alternate or supplementary hub for semiconductor manufacturing and supply chains, benefiting from its large domestic market, skilled workforce, and improving infrastructure.

Overall, these trends indicate a promising future for India's electronics and semiconductor industries, with ample opportunities for growth and innovation.

DQ: Why does 3D-IC hold the promise of building a semiconductor ecosystem in India?


Kripa Venkatachalam: 3D-IC or three-dimensional integrated circuit, is a technology where multiple layers of ICs are stacked on top of each other rather than placed on a single silicon wafer. This vertical stacking optimizes space utilization, enhances performance, and improves functionality compared to traditional two-dimensional ICs. 

3D-IC also allows same plug-and-play advantages that assembling many chips on a board had, but now, within one package. While 3D-IC technology has been under development for several years, it is now gaining significant momentum as a prominent trend. Engineers can leverage this technology to combine and customize various components, technologies, and materials, tailoring the design to meet specific requirements. 

The technology enables the integration of specialized circuits, including high-performance processors and memory, within the same package, leading to the development of faster and more efficient systems.


Given the early stages of 3D-IC adoption, India has the opportunity to assume a leadership role in this transition. This evolution will unfold and play out over the next several years. The industry must collaborate and develop a broader semiconductor ecosystem to work toward standardizing to move 3D-IC to high-volume product applications. 

Cadence strongly collaborates with leading foundries like TSMC and Samsung to provide certified references for its Integrity platform. By participating in global standards and becoming a 3D-IC and chiplet hub, India can carve out a key role in this area.

DQ: What are the collaboration efforts with the Government of India towards developing the semiconductor and chip designing ecosystem?

Kripa Venkatachalam: Cadence has been closely involved in workforce development for over 20 years. We were involved in the government’s Specialized Manpower Development Program (SMDP) from its inception, and are now working with MeitY for the Chips to Startup Program, aimed at training engineers in VLSI. 

We also have over 350 academic institutions enrolled in the Cadence Academic Network, which provides students access to our world-class software. Furthermore, Cadence has actively engaged with various training institutes to assist graduate engineers in upskilling, reskilling, and acquiring lateral skills to meet industry demands.

Growing the talent pool is a priority for the government to create a skilled workforce that contributes to industry growth. Cadence is proud to be working closely with MeitY to realize the ambition to develop a pool of 85,000 trained engineers by 2027. 

With the design-linked incentive (DLI) scheme getting rolled out, we have been helping startups in providing our world-class EDA tools for product development. 


DQ: What is Cadence's current focus for R&D in India?

Kripa Venkatachalam: Cadence is one of the early MNC entrants into India. We have a presence here for over 35 years, with a workforce across sites in Noida, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune. 30% of our global employee count is in India, and Noida is Cadence’s largest R&D site outside the US. 

Cadence offers end-to-end tools for chip design, including IP and hardware. Our R&D teams in India collaborate closely with R&D teams across the world on the entire product portfolio, including digital design and signoff, functional verification, formal verification, hardware and prototyping, IP, custom and mixed-signal design, PCB and IC Packaging design and system design. 

DQ: How are you supporting the Indian startup ecosystem in the semiconductor domain?

Kripa Venkatachalam: Since 2006, Cadence has been collaborating with startups to nurture the semiconductor industry's growth in India by empowering them with access to cutting-edge tools, technologies, and expertise. Specific engagements include:

  • Tailored business models for startups.

    * Cadence partners with startup incubators like FABCi in IIT Hyderabad, and the Electropreneur Park in Delhi and Bhubaneswar to provide software and guide and mentor semiconductor and electronics startups.

    * Cadence has strong ties with academic institutions across India, fostering a culture of innovation. Startups benefit from this ecosystem through collaborations on research projects, access to talent, and opportunities for academia-industry partnerships.
  • Cadence facilitates networking opportunities for startups through its events, conferences, and customer forums. 
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