RIT Microelectronic Engineering Marks Silver Anniversary

Annual conference kicks off 25th anniversary celebration of nation’s first ‘micro-e’ program;
Henrietta Chamber of Commerce gives Community of Excellence Award




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Born around the same time as the personal computer, Rochester Institute of Technology’s Department of Microelectronic Engineering, in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, marks its 25th anniversary May 14 with a kick-off dinner and the start of its 25th annual conference.

“Semiconductor Technology Towards 2020” is the theme for this year’s conference, featuring a keynote address by Gary Patton, vice president for the IBM Corp. Systems and Technology Group, during the anniversary dinner at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Rochester, 125 East Main St.

For a quarter century, RIT and its more than 600 “micro-e” alumni have contributed to the worldwide microelectronic engineering revolution.

“Virtually every aspect of our lives is touched by microelectronic engineering in some fashion,” says Santosh Kurinec, RIT professor and department head of microelectronic engineering. “Students and alumni from the microelectronic engineering department build chips that make the hearts of computers, cell phones, displays, digital cameras, thumb drives, televisions, Sony PlayStation and Xbox among other things.”

Kurinec notes that RIT’s microelectronic engineering undergraduate program—spearheaded by Lynn Fuller, RIT professor of microelectronic engineering and founding department head—launched just as the personal-computer revolution began. The department has since added master’s degrees and, in 2002, RIT created a Ph.D. in microsystems engineering—a first-of-its kind multidisciplinary doctoral degree. In 2005, the department added a minor in microelectronics and nanofabrication.

In recognition of the micro-e department’s 25th anniversary and its strong ties to the Town of Henrietta, the Henrietta Chamber of Commerce on May 9 will present a 2007 Community of Excellence Award to the department. “In placing Rochester on the map educationally, micro-e also brings hundreds of people yearly to Henrietta hotels and restaurants,” notes Kurinec, a resident of Henrietta.

As for the next quarter century in microelectronic engineering, Kurinec predicts: “The next 25 years will see further miniaturization of the microchip using nanotechnology, and the convergence of many technologies such as nanoelectronics, nanomechanics, photonics, bio and novel computing, and software developments. Every person will have easy access to the accumulated knowledge of the human race at any time and in any place, format and language. We may have voice recognition with wireless access in our PC devices, which may be wearable and have terahertz speeds and terabyte memories. We’ll see the PC interacting with sensing and biological interfaces.”

Note: Cost of $100 includes the May 14 anniversary dinner and May 14-16 conference, continental breakfasts and luncheon. Conference speakers, 8 a.m.- 7:30 p.m. May 15, include Rajinder Khosla, a program director with the National Science Foundation; Sandip Tiwari, of Cornell University; Mark Lundstrom, of Purdue University and others. The conference concludes 8 a.m.-1 p.m. May 16 with presentations by RIT alumni and students. Talks both days are in RIT’s Xerox Auditorium in the James E. Gleason Building. Co-sponsors of the conference include the National Science Foundation and Micron Technology Inc.

For more information, visit http://www.microe.rit.edu/25 or contact Sean Rommel, RIT assistant professor of microelectronic engineering and conference technical program chair, at 475-4723 or slremc@rit.edu.