Presenting his keynote at the recently-held IESA Vision Summit 2019 in Bangalore, India, P. Raja Manickam, Founder and CEO, Tessolve Semiconductor Pvt Ltd, said that the company started as a test engineering company in 2004. He looked upon TSMC’s Morris Chang as a role model, and was greatly inspired by him.
Hardware is the ‘heart’ of any system. Manickam enjoyed FORTRAN and programming at IIT Kharagpur. He was initially excited about designing a box. Tessolve started with discretes, cables, boards, and lumped them together into a box. Once you had a CPU and ICs, you could program it. That led to larger systems, from clusters to cloud, and now, access.
The industry created the system, which he called, the ‘heart’. Those who build hardware, are referred to as poor cousins to software professionals. Hardware guys are now just starting. They have laid the foundation for the chip industry. That led to digitization, which made computing faster.
We have since enabled the machines to communicate, and allowed mobility. The chip industry digitized analog, made computing faster, enabled communications between machines, and also enabled mobility. However, he felt that the innovation has slowed in the chip industry over the last 5-10 years. Although we were packing more transistors, it does not mean that was ground breaking.
We also have access to the physical environment around us. You can sense the temperature, humidity, vision, etc. Computing power is available to everyone, storage is almost free, and connectivity is always on.
As for knowledge, people learn programming. The older generations were not that computer savvy. There is now an abundance of tools and online learning. There are multi-level collaborations going on as well. That has created a mass of people with an equal opportunity to innovate.
IoT requires problem solving
IoT requires problem solving and understanding of basics. IoT is trying to solve real-life problems. Even though IoT is going to be around everywhere, it is not going to be easy, unless you know the problem itself, and try to solve it. It is all about understanding the problem and solving it!
Who are the early users of IoT? Mobility, and now, exchanging of data. You have universal users, with universal problems. A lot of customization also happens. Earlier, the idea was to produce mass chips. Now, it is changing. There is hardware customization to solve unique or slight variant to a platform. Security code is always ‘burnt into’ the hardware, as being always on makes the hardware vulnerable. Quality and performance also matters. Industries, such as medical, automotive and industrial, are the users. Cost matters, as well.
According to him, hardware has become very important. There is hope for hardware. In hardware, there are system-level design challenges. In packaging, there are needs to simulate the multi-die, sensors, and discretes, as well as the use of 2D/3D.
In test, there has to be some sort of test strategy at the design stage itself. High-speed processors, coupled analog, are coupled to high current. Also, power dissipation is very important. There are mechanical stresses in the real world as well.
Need for next Huawei/TSMC from India
He pointed out that Saankhya Labs is an innovative company. Can it go on to be the ‘next Huawei’ from India?
There is strong and scalable engineering in India. India is also a large market with a variety of problems. There are so many test cases that can be solved. Business models are also changing. Now, smaller is faster! The environment we are running into could well be ideal for India.
He predicted that the company having the best talent will be going on to win in the future. India should look at an opportunity to create a new Huawei or TSMC, out of India. And, India may need its own TSMC or Huawei, in order to enable a million fast and innovative ‘Saankhya Labs’.
By Aanchal Ghatak & Pradeep Chakraborty