The Emerging Nanoscaled Integrated Circuits & Systems Laboratory (EnlCS)
Revolutionizing computer chip design by developing nano-based, super-small chips which significantly enhance the security, speed and energy efficiency of electronic devices.
EnICS – Emerging Nanoscaled Integrated Circuits & Systems
Research Groups: Engineering in collaboration with entrepreneurs & startups
Enormous companies dominate the microchip industry. Intel and Qualcomm aren’t just multibillion-dollar companies; they’re multibillion-dollar companies that buy other multibillion-dollar companies like NXP and Altera. That’s a tight market for an Israeli startup to break into.
There’s another hurdle, too. The startup can’t win support from investors until it has a working prototype, but the cost to prototype one chip is about $50 million. Why should a venture capital fund make a 50-million dollar bet on one company if it can make one million-dollar bet on 50 different companies?
Israel faces two problems in the area of microchip design. First, it’s nearly impossible for startups to get a foothold in the industry. Second, while Israeli R&D in microchip design for big corporations has pumped billions of dollars into our economy, we’re about to lose it to India and China which have massive resources and legions of engineers who can underbid us. These problems are augmented by Israel’s lack of academic faculty in the area of microchip design.
Also, there is a third problem. Lack of competition from agile and creative startups makes it profitable for big companies to improve their chips only enough that people will replace their older chips. So economic hurdles in the industry put the brakes on innovation, and everyone settles for less.
The EnICS Impact Center addresses these problems: it creates chips generations beyond industry standards; it establishes these chips for a consortium of Israeli companies, and it trains high numbers of the world’s best-qualified graduates in microchip design. EnICS is Israel’s leading lab for microchip design, and it ranks as one of the best in the world.
The Path Forward
EnICS’s HiPer consortium is effectively the microchip design department for Israeli companies, and it eliminates the need for each company to (at great expense) establish, equip, and staff its own design unit. Of course, this requires an exceptional level of productivity of the EnICS team. So how do they do it?
EnICS has an exceptional work method. The researchers of EnICS work together not at four separate academic research labs but as one team where each member is contributing his or her strengths in every project; they share almost everything with other team members, from goals to equipment to budget. They created and use a particular platform for rapidly proving the viability of design concepts; they employ a staff of outstanding non-academic professional engineers, and they have close partnerships with industry leaders. The results are clear: while other groups manage to prototype about one chip each year, EnICS has prototyped 15 chips since 2015.
Still, EnICS could not do this work without steady funding from the Israel Innovation Authority and the exceptional goodwill of its incredibly talented non-academic engineering staff. EnICS employs a team of about ten engineers. Each has chosen to work at EnICS for a fraction of the salary s/he would receive outside of academia. They select EnICS because the work is so creative and the team and work environment are so good.
That’s why Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company—the company which manufactures 60-80% of the computer chips in the world (including those in the iPhone)—asked EnICS to host an important conference which drew a prestigious international crowd.
However, for all that success, Israel remains in danger of losing thousands of jobs in microchip R&D to India and China. We cannot win the competition for most microchip design engineers. We may be able to cultivate the world’s most creative microchip design teams.
To that end, EnICS, which comprises about half of Israel’s academic faculty in the field of microchip design, graduates nearly two dozen master’s degree students every year. Most enter industry where they are highly sought after. At the time an EnICS student graduates, s/he possesses knowledge and know-how that exceed engineers who have worked in the industry for years, and s/he has trained to work on a team.
Our best graduates, however, we encourage to pursue doctoral work at EnICS, and the best of the best, we invite to return eventually as members of the faculty.
Retaining students for academic work is challenging because their salaries in the industry quickly exceed those of tenured professors. To do so, we offer excellent scholarships, and this lays the foundation for our nation in microchip design innovation.
Prof. Alex Fish
Prof. Fish founded EnICS in 2015. He averages almost one peer-reviewed publication every month and has submitted 23 patent applications in just the past nine years—of which 11 have already been granted.
Prof. Yossie Shor
Prof. Shor joined Bar-Ilan with 27 years of experience working with industry leaders in semiconductors and microsensors, including Motorola and Intel. He holds over 45 patents and pending patents.
Dr. Adam Teman
Dr. Teman is a young researcher who has quickly racked up honours— a postdoctoral fellowship sponsored by the Swiss government at EPFL, one of the world’s top engineering schools, the Wolf Prize, the Intel Prize, and other research awards.
Dr. Osnat Keren
Dr. Keren has developed new codes to bring together two different fields, hardware reliability and hardware security, and thereby produced a unified approach to the design of microelectronics.
General Manager of EnICS, Rudin joined the impact center after 28 years with the Freescale Semiconductors Design Center. There he defined and designed some of the company’s most successful Digital Networking products, rose to the role of General Manager and won recognition as a Freescale Fellow for both technical and leadership distinction.
EnICS’s R&D activities inject innovation into the microchip design industry and allow Israeli companies to compete.