Thursday, June 24, 2010

Students, show off your technical talent @ Mentor’s University Design Contest 2010!

I really envy the students of today! They live in such lucky times!! There are so many opportunities for them to learn, grow and flourish, and so many avenues to venture!!!

Here’s one more opportunity for those brilliant students from various engineering colleges across India. Friends, you can participate and show off your techical talent by participating in Mentor Graphics’ University Design Contest 2010!

I was elated when Veeresh Shetty of Mentor Graphics informed me today about this great contest! Thanks a lot, Veeresh, and Mentor Graphics India, especially, my friend Raghu Panicker, for taking time to think about spotting talent among students.

Time to participate and win, dear students!
First, what do the students get out of this contest? Well, there’s prize money involved! The top three winners will earn a Certificate of Recognition. There will be one Winner team followed by two runner-up teams. The winning team will be awarded a cash prize of $3,000, 1st Runner-up – $2,000 and 2nd Runner-up – $1,000, respectively.

So, what’s the purpose behind this contest? Well, this is the inaugural Mentor Graphics University Design contest 2010 in India.

The objective/focus of this contest is to provide an opportunity for engineering students to showcase their technical talent and competency using Mentor Graphics tools. The company expects to grow this contest with increased representation and participation, and draw maximum number of contestants.

What’s the aim?
The contest aims to provide an opportunity for engineering students from different technology streams to participate in the contest and demonstrate their technical capabilities, problem solving, project management and design skills in a contest against their peers.

It will also provide all participants with new perspectives on how design teams from different disciplines and different regions of the country approach a common design problem. The engineering students will also get a chance to meet experts to showcase and present their ideas, and network with fellow participants to discuss newer ideas of working on a project.

And here’s the contest!
What are the contestants supposed to do? The DUT will primarily consists of five blocks:
1. Fetch (Must be designed in System Verilog)
2. Decode (Must be designed in Verilog)
3. Execute (Must be designed in VHDL)
4. Write Back (Must be designed in Verilog)
5. Testbench (Must be designed in System Verilog)

What happens once students have submitted their projects? The contest involves the following three stages:

Stage 1: Preparation and Submission of Paper/Project
Stage Two: Poster Presentation
Stage Three: Paper/Project Presentation

Technical committee and judges
The technical committee for this contest will be techno-experts from Mentor Graphics, headed by Rajeev Sehgal, Development Engineering Director. Each team’s paper submission will be reviewed by the technical committee based on:
* System Functionality : The hence designed MCU will be required to correctly execute sample instructions file.
* In case the complete system is not functional unit level functionality will be considered.
* RTL Code (Apart from TestBench) must be synthesizable.
* Timing of unit blocks must be honored.
* Coding style and Block partitioning will be considered.
* Synthesize the DUT and show it working on a FPGA board. Use of ethnography and contextual research.

In addition the next two stages will be reviewed based on:
* Clarity and organization of the project/solution.
* Relevance and clarity of presentation material (slides, etc).
* Quality of argument used to justify why the solution is worthy of consideration.

Early this year, I was also part of an initiative, again involving Mentor Graphics, this time with the RV-VLSI Design Center, where a similar design contest was rolled out for students. Look forward to seeing more such initiatives! Best of luck to the students participating in this contest!

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