Vidya Rajagopalan    
Vidya Rajagopalan
Vice President, Processing Solutions
Xilinx Inc.


1. How does Xilinx see India both as a design country for programmable logic chips as well as a market for the consumption of programmable logic?

Xilinx strongly believes in India’s potential as a design country for programmable chips. To that extent we have invested significantly in our Hyderabad site, which has more than doubled since 2009. In India our engineers are involved in the design of programmable logic, software tools used to program these devices and in IP development for these products. India has a strong pool of talented engineers coming both from its leading engineering colleges as well as those trained in semiconductor companies in India. We are also seeing significant growth in the consumption of our programmable devices in the Indian market.

2. Please comment on the latest technologies being developed by Xilinx. Is there any input from the Indian R&D team? Which are the futuristic technologies on the anvil?

Our engineers in India are involved in the development of all our leading edge technologies. They are involved in the development of our 7-series products that were announced recently. They have a very significant role in the development of our EPP based products. More than half our team for the Extensible Processing Platform (EPP) development is based in India. Some aspects of the EPP are entirely designed and verified in India and the India team is driving the methodology used here. Our India team also has sole ownership and development responsibility for significant aspects of our software tool suite.

3. What is the reason behind FPGAs and PLDs gaining more popularity?

As ASIC development costs continue to surge and time to market becomes even more critical, FPGA’s and PLD’s start to gain popularity. The cost of ASIC development in leading edge nodes such as 28nm is prohibitive and very few companies can afford to build semiconductor solutions from the ground up at these advanced nodes. In addition the complexity associated with ASIC design in these advanced nodes is also very significant. Not only do companies developing these need deep pockets for the associated manufacturing costs, they need to invest in a significant amount of very expensive EDA tools designed to deal with these products, they need large teams trained in the sophisticated aspects of deep submicron designs. FPGA’s provide an attractive alternative, because they do not have any of this overhead associated with them. In addition because of Moore’s law, the capacity of FPGA’s continues to grow where it can now subsume levels of functionality not previously possible.

4. What is your view on IP in FPGAs?

At Xilinx we find the demand for high quality, proven IP for FPGA’s is on the rise, as more and more people look to FPGA’s to implement system solutions. The FPGA IP ecosystem is in the early stages of development. In the past FPGA manufacturers were the sole providers of FPGA targeted IP. That is slowly but surely starting to change. At Xilinx we would like to encourage the growth of a robust third party ecosystem. To that extent we have established the multi-tiered Xilinx Alliance Program to encourage the growth of the IP ecosystem for FPGA’s. Xilinx carefully selects highly qualified IP vendors for participation in this program and certifies their offerings to instill customer confidence in these products.

Profile : Vidya Rajagopalan is vice president of Processing Solutions and Global Verification for the Programmable Platforms group at Xilinx, with responsibility for development and delivery of the company’s Extensible Processing Platform and next-generation processing solutions.

Rajagopalan joined Xilinx in 2009 with more than 20 years of experience in the architecture design and implementation of processors and processor based systems. At MIPS, she led the development of MIPS Technologies’ MIPS 74K processor core family from concept to production, including assembling and managing the design team.

Rajagopalan has held management and technical leadership positions at MIPS Technologies, SGI, Quantum Effect Design, and Digital Equipment Corp. At Digital Equipment Corp. she was actively involved in the architecture and development of multiple generations of Digital’s Alpha line of processors, recognized for pushing the envelope for processor performance and frequency in their time.

Rajagopalan has a bachelor's of engineering from VNIT (National Institute of Technology), and a masters of science in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland College Park.