By Prof Y Siva Sankar
Professor of Practice, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering
Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, Robotics, IoT, 5G etc., are some of the technological innovations we hear about today. It is predicted that industry 4.0 will be dominated by these technologies and to have a career in industry we need to master them. At the heart of these new technologies is the evolution of the Semiconductor Industry. Semiconductor chips are incorporated in almost every electronic and communication product that enables these technologies for various domains. Military & defence, Automotive, consumer electronics etc. industries rely on these chips in their system design, while communication companies use semiconductors to improve their services. These industries rely on high-quality designs from qualified specialists to manufacture state-of-the-art equipment. Therefore, it’s essential that qualified specialists understand semiconductor design. That’s where an MTech in VLSI comes in handy. Basically, an MTech in VLSI is a two-year degree program that focuses on semiconductor design. During the study, we learn how to design and assemble circuits, chips, and other electronic components using silicon semiconductors. At the end of the degree program, students will be well-equipped to pursue a career as a designer or researcher in the field of VLSI. Since demand for MTech in VLSI is high these days, students can potentially gain lucrative employment after finishing the degree program. Additionally, this degree program prepares you for a career in any organisation that relies on silicon technology- including healthcare and research centres.
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What is MTech in VLSI and How Can It Help You Achieve Professional Success?
MTech in VLSI (Very-Large-Scale Integration) is a postgraduate-level programme in the field of Electronics and Computer Engineering. The course focuses on the design and development of integrated circuits and systems, including computer-aided design (CAD) tools, simulation, and verification techniques.
The programme covers semiconductor device physics, IC fabrication technology, digital and analogue circuit design, computer-aided design tools, VLSI system design, digital and analogue circuit design, semiconductor device physics, and layout design. It also includes hands-on training in the use of VLSI design tools and the implementation of VLSI systems.
Completing an MTech in VLSI can help you achieve professional success by providing you with the knowledge and skills needed to design and develop advanced electronic systems. Graduates of the programme are well-suited for careers in VLSI design, embedded systems, semiconductor manufacturing, and computer-aided design. They are also well-prepared for further research in the field.
Graduates with this degree can work in roles such as VLSI design engineer, IC design manager, or VLSI research and development engineer. They can work in companies like Intel, Texas Instruments, and Samsung. Additionally, MTech in VLSI graduates can pursue research and teaching positions in universities and research institutions.
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What are the Prerequisites needed for Pursuing an MTech in VLSI?
The prerequisites for pursuing an MTech in VLSI typically include a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field, such as Electrical engineering, Computer engineering, or Electronics engineering. Some universities may also require a minimum GPA or a certain number of course credits in related subjects, such as circuit analysis, digital design, and semiconductor devices. To perform well in the course basic understanding of semiconductor physics and device operation, and familiarity with computer-aided design (CAD) tools and simulation software, such as SPICE, Verilog, and VHDL, is an advantage. Some institutions may also require a valid GATE or other entrance exam scores.
Exploring Different Career Paths after an MTech in VLSI
Overall, the career opportunities available to MTech in VLSI graduates are diverse and can be found in various industries, including electronics, computer hardware and software, telecommunications, aerospace, and more.
An MTech in VLSI can open a wide range of career opportunities in various fields such as:
Some of the common career paths for graduates of the programme include:
The Benefits of Pursuing an MTech in VLSI Design & Technology
Pursuing an MTech degree in VLSI Design & Technology can provide several benefits, including:
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Advantages of pursuing an MTech Degree in VLSI at SRM University-AP
SRM University-AP (Andhra Pradesh) is one of the premier institutes in India for education and research in the field of VLSI Design & Technology. Pursuing an MTech degree in VLSI at SRM University-AP can provide several advantages, including:
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SRM University-AP hosted the IEEE SPS Winter School on Deep Learning for Image Restoration and Computer Vision from December 5 to 10, 2022. The six-day conference organised by the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering was inaugurated by the honourable Pro-Vice-Chancellor of SRM University-AP, Prof. D Narayana Rao. Expert talks by renowned academicians from the University of Dayton, USA; University of Bath, UK; IIT Hyderabad; IISc Bangalore; IIIT Hyderabad; DA-IICT etc., were the highlights of the conference.
Prof. Sumantra Dutta Roy from IIT Delhi, a well-acclaimed researcher in computer vision and machine learning, joined on the last day of the conference, Saturday, December 10, 2022, for a lecture on Biometrics and Medical Informatics. The discourse focused on the speaker’s struggles to come to terms with concepts which have comparatively little physical significance in terms of mathematical rigour or algorithmic efficiency but have the potential to produce hitherto unseen levels of startling results. The talk concluded with some applications of deep architectures and a few problems in biometrics and medical informatics.
The event was funded by IEEE and guided by the IEEE Guntur subsection and Hyderabad Section. Hands-on sessions were also conducted at the conference. Faculty, researchers, and students from various universities around the map participated in the insightful sessions. The event organisers were Prof. Jiji CV and Assistant Professor Dr Sateeshkrishna Dhuli of the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, SRM University-AP.Continue reading →
The Directorate of Entrepreneurship and Innovation steps forth with yet another brave initiative from Dr Sunitha K A, Associate Professor, the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering. Dr Sunitha had envisioned a dream to empower patients suffering from ailments that require sustained medical assistance with a specially designed convertible wheelchair that can aid the patients in mobility and self-help. In association with Hatchlab Research Centre, Dr Sunitha has initiated a health-tech startup exclusively for patients who cannot move their bodies due to several medical conditions and to raise awareness of the continuing rise of similar cases in today’s society.
Dr Sunitha says, “The main challenge of the patient is to perform the basic movements like coming out of the bed and to sit in the wheelchair (and vice-versa), and it is almost impossible for a patient to do this simple act without external support of a person or a nurse. We have listed several such scenarios and cases where our specially designed wheelchair can be converted into a bed and can be easily controlled by the patient itself. Apart from that, all the necessary inputs like the urine levels in the drop-bag, pulse rate, emergency indicated, oxygen levels and several other parameters are well integrated into the system itself which displays in the dashboard and is communicated to the stakeholders.”
The prototype for the convertible wheelchair has been successfully tested and appreciated by doctors and experts in Chennai. With the help of Hatchlab Research Centre, the prime focus for the next few months is to create a completely functional prototype. The innovative venture plans to recreate the fully functional prototype, seed funding and round one funding from the investors, followed by large-scale production. Several multinational design patents for the product have already been filed by Dr Sunitha, and the next stage of the cohort is the commercialisation of the product.Continue reading →
Nobel Laureate Prof. David Wineland, University of Oregon, USA, virtually joined the International Conference on Electronic and Photonic Integrated Circuits (EPIC- 2022) hosted by SRM University-AP from December 15 to 17, 2022. The American Physicist who was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics for devising methods to study the quantum mechanical behaviour of individual ions delivered an insightful lecture on Atomic Clocks. The three-day-long conference organised by the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, SRM AP, concluded on Saturday, December 17, 2022; the Convenors of this event were Dr Pradyut Kumar Sanki and Dr Swagata Samanta.
Nobel Laureate Prof. David Wineland elaborated on why the world needs precise clocks, the basics of how atomic clocks work, optical atomic clocks, the state of play and what the future might hold. Prof. Juejun Hu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA; Prof. Edward Wasige, University of Glasgow, UK; and Prof. Lorenzo Pavesi, University of Trento, Italy were the Plenary speakers of this conference. Prof. Amlan Chakrabarti, Director, A. K. Choudhury School of Information Technology, University of Calcutta; Prof. Shankar Kumar Selvaraja, IISc Bangalore; Prof. Chetna Singhal, IIT Kharagpur; Prof. Naren Naik, IIT Kanpur; Prof. Samaresh Das, IIT Delhi; Prof. Shanti Bhattacharya, IIT Madras; Dr. Pranabendu Ganguly, IIT Kharagpur; Prof. Sarbani Ghosh, BITS Pilani; Dr. Bruno Romeiro, International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Portugal; Prof. Sakellaris Mailis, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Moscow, Russia; Prof. Shyamal Mondal, Defence Institute of Advanced Technology; Prof. Enakshi Bhattacharya, IIT Madras were the eminent speakers of the first two days. Prof. Achanta Venugopal, Director, NPL Delhi; Prof. T Srinivas, IISc Bangalore, and Prof. Ravindra Jha, IIT Guwahati, gave the keynote speeches on the last day of the programme. A session on ‘Women in Devices, Circuits & Systems’ was delivered by Prof. Sujata Pal, IIT Ropar; and Prof. Takako Hashimoto, Vice President of the Chiba University of Commerce (CUC), Japan; Industrial Talk by Dr Sajal Sarkar, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd.; Dr. Pradipta Patra, Samsung Semiconductor India; Dr. Satyabrata Sarangi, Meta; Sunnyvale, California, USA; and Dr. Souvik Kundu, Intel Labs, USA, were the other highlights of the day.
Additionally, a Panel Discussion was handled by Dr Rajkumar Elagiri, Apex Semiconductor; Dr Kamal Das, IBM Research Lab; and Dr Soumya Maity, Dell Technologies. Furthermore, the Young Researcher Forum conducted as part of the conference featured renowned academicians such as Dr Biswabandhu Jana, MIT and Harvard Hospital, USA; Dr Bibhas Manna, TU Wien, Germany; Dr Ankita Jain, Queens University, Canada; Dr Subhrajit Mukherjee, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel; Dr Rajat Subhra Karmakar, National Taiwan University, Taiwan; Dr Surajit Bose, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany; Dr Akanksha Pathak, Emory University, School of Medicine, USA; Dr Debidas Kundu, Carleton University, Canada; and Mayur Kumar Chhipa, ISBAT University, Kampala, Uganda, East Africa.
A pre-conference event: Smart SRM Hackathon – 24 Hrs Circuit Design Contest was organised on December 14, 2022. Poster & technical exhibition called Jigyasa took place on the first day of the conference EPIC-2022.Continue reading →
Breast cancer (BC) is one of the most common types of cancer among women with a high mortality rate. Histopathological analysis facilitates the detection and diagnosis of BC but is a highly time-consuming specialised task, dependent on the experience of the pathologists. Hence, there is a dire need for computer-assisted diagnosis (CAD) to relieve the workload on pathologists. Dr Sudhakar Tummala, Assistant Professor, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, has conducted breakthrough research on this domain in his paper titled BreaST-Net: Multi-Class Classification of Breast Cancer from Histopathological Images Using Ensemble of Swin Transformers published in the Q1 Journal Mathematics, having an Impact Factor of 2.6.
Breast cancer (BC) is one of the deadly forms of cancer and a major cause of female mortality worldwide. The standard imaging procedures for screening BC involve mammography and ultrasonography. However, these imaging procedures cannot differentiate subtypes of benign and malignant cancers. Therefore, histopathology images could provide better sensitivity toward benign and malignant cancer subtypes. Recently, vision transformers are gaining attention in medical imaging due to their success in various computer vision tasks. Swin transformer (SwinT) is a variant of vision transformer that works on the concept of non-overlapping shifted windows and is a proven method for various vision detection tasks. Hence, in this study, we have investigated the ability of an ensemble of SwinTs for the 2- class classification of benign vs. malignant and 8-class classification of four benign and four malignant subtypes, using an openly available BreaKHis dataset containing 7909 histopathology images acquired at different zoom factors of 40×, 100×, 200× and 400×. The ensemble of SwinTs (including tiny, small, base, and large) demonstrated an average test accuracy of 96.0% for the 8-class and 99.6% for the 2-class classification, outperforming all the previous works. Hence, an ensemble of SwinTs could identify BC subtypes using histopathological images and may lead to pathologist relief.
A brief summary of the research in layperson’s terms
Breast cancer (BC) is the second deadliest cancer after lung cancer, causing morbidity and mortality worldwide in the women population. Its incidence may increase by more than 50% by the year 2030 in the United States. The non-invasive diagnostic procedures for BC involve a physical examination and imaging techniques such as mammography, ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging. However, the physical examination may not detect it early, and Imaging procedures offer low sensitivity for a more comprehensive assessment of cancerous regions and identification of cancer subtypes. Histopathological imaging via breast biopsy, even though minimally invasive, may provide accurate identification of the cancer subtype and precise localization of the lesion. However, this manual examination by the pathologist could be tiresome and prone to errors. Therefore, automated methods for BC subtype classification are warranted.
Deep learning has revolutionised many areas in the last decade, including healthcare for various tasks such as accurate disease diagnosis, prognosis, and robotic-assisted surgery. There were studies based on deep convolutional neural networks (CNN) for detecting BC using the aforementioned imaging procedures. However, CNNs exhibit inherent inductive bias and are variant to translation, rotation, and location of the object of interest in the image. Therefore, image augmentation is generally applied while training CNN models, although the data augmentation may not provide expected variations in the training set. Hence, self-attention based deep learning models that are more robust towards the orientation and location of an object of interest in the image are rapidly growing.
SwinTs are an improved version of earlier vision transformer (ViT) architecture and are hierarchical vision transformers using shifted windows that work based on self-attention. For efficient modelling, self-attention within local windows was proposed and computed, and to evenly partition the image, the windows are arranged in a non-overlapping manner. The window-based self-attention has linear complexity and is scalable. However, the modelling power of window-based self-attention is limited because it lacks connections across windows. Therefore, a shifted window partitioning approach that alternates between the partitioning configurations in consecutive Swin transformer blocks was proposed to allow cross-window connections while maintaining the efficient computation of non-overlapping windows. The shifted window scheme in Swin transformers offers increased efficiency by restricting self- attention computation to local windows that are non-overlapping while also facilitating a cross-window connection. Overall, the SwinT network’s performance was superior to that of the standard ViTs.
Therefore, the paper analyses the ability of an ensemble of Swin transformer models (BreaST-Net) for the automated multi-class classification of BC by investigating histopathological images. The work dealt with both benign and malignant subtypes. Further, the benign cancer subtypes include fibroadenoma, tubular adenoma, phyllodes tumour, and adenosis. Whereas the malignant subtypes contain ductal carcinoma, papillary carcinoma, lobular carcinoma, and mucinous carcinoma.
Social implications of the research
Dr Sudhaker Tummala explains that the computer-aided subtyping of breast cancer from histopathology images using an ensemble of fine-tuned SwinT models can be an alternative to manual diagnoses, thereby reducing the burden on clinical pathologists.
In the future, Dr Tummala will advance his research to add explainability to the ensemble model predictions and also to develop models that can work on fewer data samples.Continue reading →