Search Google Appliance


News

Mentor Graphics invests $825,000 in Portland State to expand computer chip testing program
Author: Suzanne Pardington, University Communications
Posted: July 19, 2012

Mentor Graphics has invested $825,000 in Portland State University’s Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science to advance the study of integrated circuit design in the new Mentor Graphics Design Verification and Emulation Lab.

The support will allow the Maseeh College to expand its expertise in the growing and relatively new field of chip verification by emulation, a cost-effective way of testing complex new chips.

“This investment will advance PSU's goal to become a national leader in the field of chip design,” said PSU President Wim Wiewel. “It is a wonderful example of a public-private partnership that blends philanthropy and education with an outcome that will have a positive impact on the economy.”

The growing partnership with Mentor Graphics, a worldwide high tech company headquartered in Wilsonville, Ore., enables PSU to enhance its relationships with chip design companies. The program expansion will offer students more state-of-the-art education and more opportunities in industry. It will grow enrollment and improve the quality of research and instruction in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“We greatly appreciate PSU’s commitment to partnering with private industry to ensure that its curriculum delivers graduates skilled in the most advanced technologies available in the world,” said Gregory K. Hinckley, president of Mentor Graphics. “This donation will enable a unique partnership between Mentor Graphics and PSU and ensure that the students who graduate from this program will be able to immediately contribute to their employers.”

Mentor Graphics makes software and hardware products to automate electronic design tasks, enabling engineers to develop electronic devices more efficiently. In 2009, the company gave PSU an emulator worth approximately $1 million, a piece of hardware that simulates how a new chip will behave before it is actually manufactured to enable design errors to be discovered before manufacturing costs and time are committed. PSU is the only university in the country to receive a Mentor Graphics emulator donation for research and instruction, giving students a rare opportunity to learn on cutting-edge equipment and making them valuable to future employers.

This new investment includes a $700,000 gift over five years for a new faculty member, to be hired by June 2013, and $125,000 for options for exclusive access to intellectual property based on research conducted in the lab. Two PSU professors are already working in the emulation field, and PSU plans to hire an additional faculty member using PSU funds for a total of four faculty members in the lab.

“It’s such an important gift to advance our teaching and learning and build a cutting-edge program in chip design,” said Renjeng Su, dean of the Maseeh College. “We can benefit a great deal from working with Mentor Graphics, because they are one of the top companies in the world.”