Monday, January 19, 2009

Getting Kids Excited about Chip Design

I was at the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation yesterday to see their US-exclusive Leonardo exhibit. It really drives home what a genius Leonardo da Vinci was. He seemed to know everything knowable as of 1500, and the exhibits make it clear that he was a god of mechanical engineering (among many things).

If he were around today, with what's available with electrical and electronic engineering, imagine what he would have created! Who is the da Vinci of our day?

Besides this featured exhibit, the kids I brought and I explored the other Current Exhibits. I was excited to find displays on semiconductor design and manufacturing in the Silicon Workshop.

The design section is sponsored by Cadence and the EDA Consortium, and has hands-on activities showing what I knew to be logic design and physical design. I was excited to explain to the children how a few simple logic gates could be interconnected to control what actions would start the model car, turn on its lights, etc. And I think they enjoyed it, too.

Ask me again in ten years whether this influenced the kids at all to pursue science or engineering. I think it is a good attempt. Props to Cadence and EDAC for creating this to show what we do and inspire the next generation.

(images linked from The Tech web site)

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