VLSI: What a joke!


If I say “we’ve been fortunate enough to have been offered the course VLSI this semester“, I am sure I would be considered, by classmates, as going out on a limb to suggest that.

Yes, VLSI is a great Engineering course, but only in the way it is taught in most other foreign universities.  In my university, we don’t even know what the bloody course outline is.  Not that we haven’t been told;  it is just that NONE has been decided yet.  Duh!

The instructor has no clue whatsoever what to teach.  He shuffles through books, highlighting snippets of information he considers to be important, clutters up all the snippets together in a piece of paper, and, during the lectures, scribbles them over the whiteboard, expecting us to copy them down.

If we were studying a course that had been introduced recently in academic curicula all over the world, it would have had been understandable.  But for a course that already has an extensive precedent to it, picking up random books, and figuring out what to teach is simply unacceptable, and moreso at this stage of our undergradudate studies, when we are less than a year and a half away from graduation.

To reproduce his words out of memory, to him, “Our goal throughout this semester in this course is to focus on the research being carried out in the field of VLSI.”  Good enough!  Which is, I believe, the sole reason why a good part of each lecture is spent calling up students over to the podium to explain what they have done by way of finding about current research in the field of VLSI.  “Um, sir, medical scientists have been able to reproduce primitive logic operations via some specific proteins in the body“, one student excitedly points out.  “OK, good!  Next?”  “Sir, Intel has been able to fabricate ICs with transitors having a gate-length of 65-nm.“, another students underlines the breaking news.  “Good.

“Sir, excuse me, but, what the heck is the point of all this?”  That is what I want to know.  Okay, so, yes, the approach is pragmatic, in that, only, the focus is on practical, current technology.  But, where exactly are we going with all this?  No where!  Am I the only one who sees this?  Or am I the only one too stupid to point it out?

Sigh!

I digged out the following links listing course outlines in detail of various courses related to VLSI design being taught in university all over the world.

I ain’t keeping my fingers crossed, trust me!

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One thought on “VLSI: What a joke!

  1. hehe no you are not the only one. i just gave my ‘Basics of VLSI’ exam and believe me I still cant draw a layout diagram with proper aspect ratios(W/L). its not that i cant do, but I wasnt taught the way it should be taught. My profs dont bother what we do in lab…we just endup wasting 2 hrs doing everything but vlsi. I dont even know how to use MAGIC even though it was clearly specified in the syllabus. Again the same reason -our profs didnt tech us.
    PS: our syllabus was a mixture of two books- one by Fabricius & other by Kang

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