Circuit Insights – 13-CI: Fundamentals 6 UCLA Behzad Razavi
Circuit Insights – 13-CI: Fundamentals 6 UCLA Behzad Razavi

integrated circuit

Filed in: Virtual & Hybrid Event Case Studies Tag: Case Studies

Integrated circuits (ICs) power almost every electronic device we use today. In April 2021, the IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference (CICC) welcomed over 500 registered participants virtually to discuss advancements in integrated circuit (IC) development. Sponsored by the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society, the conference presents original, first published technical work and innovative circuit techniques that tackle practical problems.

CICC is no stranger to going virtual since this was their second online event since the pandemic. The organizing committee under the leadership of Chair, Foster Dai, once again called on the expertise of the MCE Digital Events Team for their event strategy and execution. “The MCE team helped us in every step from virtual platform setup to training as well as services on-the-fly during the conference,” shares Dai.

The event employed a combination of pre-recorded and live sessions which were broadcast between 9 am – 5 pm CDT (GMT -5). The team selected the Engagez platform for their pre-recorded sessions, and Zoom for live sessions. Dai says, “We took a lesson from last year and implemented a more interactive platform via Zoom this year. The Q/A portions and the social events were more interactive and efficient than last year.”

The 2021 program featured 34 sessions including 85 paper presentations, four keynotes, four forums, and five panels. Presentations addressed a broad range of emerging applications, modeling and design approaches, advanced techniques, systems, and safety protocols. Forums featured invited papers in areas like human-brain interface and essential analog innovations. Awards for “Best Paper” were given in the regular and student submission categories during the live closing ceremonies.

To shift engagement into high gear, the committee opted to make pre-recorded materials available two weeks before the event. Dai shares, “The availability of accepted papers and their pre-recorded presentations two weeks ahead of the conference helped audiences better organize their plans on the papers they wanted to attend.” Enabling participants to view materials in advance also resulted in richer discussions and more thoughtful questions for presenters.

The conference included a full day of four educational sessions offering opportunities to refresh key skills in traditional circuit-design methods and acquire knowledge in vital new areas. Sixteen speakers discussed how integrated circuits are used in game-changing applications like DNA sequencing, precision agriculture, and implantable sensors.

Panel sessions offered thought-provoking discussions on issues at the forefront of the field. Leaders from industry and academia discussed innovations at panels like “Machine Learning for Chip Design” and looked to the future with “Missing Arrow in My Quiver (The one component that I’d kill to have but doesn’t exist on an IC today).”

Sometimes the most helpful career insights come from peers who are farther along on their career paths. To assist participants on their journeys, CICC offered a Joint Mentoring Event with Young Professionals and Women-In-Circuits. The event included six live breakout sessions offering wisdom on topics like deciding between an MSEE or Ph.D. and working for a start-up vs. a larger company.

To round out the event CICC featured several additional networking events that combined social and educational elements. A special luncheon treated participants to a talk on “AR/VR Applications at Facebook Reality Labs: Silicon Challenges and Research Directions.” Later in the event, participants joined a Virtual Reception/Networking Event through the SpatialChat application. Participants could join any of six live sessions to learn “what’s hot” in key areas like processors and power electronics.

2021 CICC allowed participants to discover new approaches to solving design problems, improve circuit design techniques, get exposure to new technology areas, and network with peers, authors, and industry experts. Dai shares, “This year, we have achieved a record-high attendance with more than 539 registrations. The virtual platform certainly benefited attendees around the globe to attend the CICC conference from their homes. For the first time, many student attendees from developing countries were able to attend a high-quality IEEE technical conference for as little as $20 in registration fees.”

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