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Adit Singh wanted to fly airplanes when he grew up. “I received my first flying license before my first driver’s license,” said Singh, Godbold Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. “When I started flying, we flew gliders and small planes with very primitive electronic equipment. The gauges were mechanical and we often didn’t have a radio.
Thanks to researchers like Singh, however, many devices, including countless household items, are no longer built with primitive electronics.
“The tiny integrated circuit chips are the heart of microcomputers,” Singh said. “These are the wonders of microelectronics technology that have fueled the Internet revolution and the economy in recent decades.”
Singh, a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers whose Auburn career began in 1991 after a stint as a professor at the University of Massachusetts, has trained and trained thousands of engineers from leading semiconductor companies around the world in cutting-edge technologies associated with the design and testing of integrated circuit chips.
For his contributions to industry and improving the careers of countless engineers around the world, Singh was awarded the prestigious Auburn University 2021 Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach.
“Throughout his impressive career, Dr. Singh has shown a unique ability to identify important problems in the field, create technical solutions, and even develop translational awareness programs,” said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of engineering. “Auburn University and dozens of semiconductor manufacturers are stronger thanks to contributions from Dr. Singh.”
Department of Electronics and Computer Engineering President Mark Nelms considers Singh “the embodiment of awareness and impact” and an “ambassador of Auburn University.”
“We have all benefited from the rapid development of these ubiquitous ICs as they can be found in everyday devices such as cell phones, televisions, appliances and automobiles,” Nelms said.
Singh’s reputation in the research community, particularly with adaptive testing technology, has allowed him to develop tutorials on advanced, cutting-edge topics in IC testing to rule out subtle manufacturing defects that can cause operational failures in electronic systems. .
What happens if one of the circuit chips is malfunctioning? How can you determine which internal component caused the problem? How can faulty chips be discovered before they are inserted into a cell phone or computer? These questions need to be asked, then answered.
“You have to find the bad apples in the integrated circuit production line,” Singh said. “You have to thoroughly test each of the millions of chips produced every day around the world.”
Singh’s initial research on adaptive testing methodology, funded by the National Science Foundation, also involved collaboration with IBM from 2000 to 2003. Adaptive testing is an umbrella term for a variety of techniques designed to improve test quality and / or reduce the cost of applying the test. Within this procedure, the pass / fail limit of a part is not standardized or fixed as is the case in conventional device tests.
“Senior industry engineers and managers are often skeptical of academic research,” Singh said. “What can an academic teach us, they ask? What do professors understand about the immediate needs of the industry given our rapidly advancing technology?
“None of this information goes into any textbook until long after it is out of date. It takes time to earn their trust and show them that you have something of value to offer them. Having this exposure of frequent awareness tutorials to highly experienced engineers from major semiconductor companies addressing the detailed technical questions they ask, many of which lead to intense discussions, helps me get a good picture of what’s going on in the industry. Why do they ask these questions? What are their needs? “
Considering that Singh has been very proud to be instrumental in building successful engineering careers, he stressed that the many industry professionals he forms help stimulate his creativity and research which have a significant impact.
“Research is a reasonable way to disseminate information,” he said. “But to have an impact, you have to understand what the industry wants or needs. This is where my exchanges within industry and engineering professionals have become most useful. For me, communication is being out there with the professionals, the engineers and the designers. There we have a full exchange of ideas “.
When a student leaves Singh’s classroom and enters the industry, which educational tools are most important?
“It’s very simple,” Singh said. “The fundamentals. The basic concepts of technology. Things have changed a lot over the past 30 years. Technology is advancing rapidly.
“As an engineering professor, if you spend most of your time teaching him a specific piece of hardware or software, you can be sure that tomorrow that project will be obsolete. The well-trained professional is one who can understand the basic and fundamental engineering concepts that he has learned. The details of the technology change, but the fundamentals don’t. “
Singh still enjoys teaching in Auburn classrooms and through tutorials and lectures around the world. He still enjoys searching and endless searching to answer the questions “why?” or how? “which benefits the industry and ultimately the lives of millions of people.
And of course, he still hopes to be able to spend more time flying one day.