University of Rochester

University Leads Statewide Effort to Boost Tech Economy

January 15, 2002

Eight research universities statewide have joined forces to create the Microelectronics Design Center (MDC), a consortium to provide New York State industries with access to world-class expertise in chip design research. The University of Rochester heads up the center comprised of researchers from Alfred, Columbia, Cornell, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and SUNY Buffalo. The schools are gathering some of their most innovative microelectronics researchers at Columbia University on Jan. 16 to discuss their work and exchange their ideas with industry.

Funded by a $2.6 million grant from the New York State Office of Advanced Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR), the MDC is an innovative virtual center which facilitates collaboration among top-notch integrated circuit design researchers and the companies that depend on chips to produce electronic devices. By creating the center, scientists at these universities hope to take advantage of their pooled talent and resources to provide state-of-the-art scientific research for commercial application.

The race for faster, lower power, digital integrated circuits drives studies of on-chip inductance and low-power energy-efficient structures and high-performance digital semiconductors. Efforts to develop techniques to optimize routing of information while minimizing noise are likely to become increasingly significant as chips become more and more densely packed. Measuring the performance of these faster, lower-powered circuits has become increasingly difficult. Microscopic probes are being developed to detect electric or magnetic force interactions from on-chip charges and currents. High performance signal circuits for digital communications systems such as modems for high-speed internet access over phone lines are under heavy investigation in the industry.

For more information on the MDC, visit the web site at