Undergraduate field applications engineers: a successful experiment in electronic design automation technology transfer
The United States has lost its leadership position in semiconductor manufacturing. It is, however, still dominant in the production of electronic design automation (EDA) software which supports semiconductor integrated circuit design and manufacturing. Research on EDA software is performed primarily in US universities. Early use of such software by the US semiconductor industry should constitute a precompetitive advantage that would help to compensate for our country's lack of competitiveness in manufacturing; however, because of the different natures of universities and industry, a significant technology transfer gap exists between them. Universities produce prototype software as research results, whereas the semiconductor industry would prefer to have robust rather than prototype versions. To bridge the gap, it has been proposed that we emulate the EDA industry and use undergraduate engineering students as Field Applications Engineers (UFAE's). This paper describes a reasonably successful first attempt at this approach to EDA software technology transfer and discusses as well what could be done in the future to improve upon it.
IEEE Transactions on Education
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