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Semiconductor Innovator Leading the Charge for Climate Action: Praful Jain

Semiconductor Innovator Leading the Charge for Climate Action: Praful Jain

Mr. Praful Jain graduated from BITS Pilani (Pilani, ‘11) with a dual degree in Mathematics, and Electronics and Electrical Engineering. He later earned his Master’s in Nanotechnology and Electrical Science from the University of California, San Diego. He is currently a Senior Member of Technical Staff at AMD. He previously worked for Xilinx, which merged with AMD following the buyout. He is also a keen advocate for climate change.

As a Senior Member of the Technical Staff at AMD, what are your primary responsibilities and key projects?

I have been at Xilinx since after graduating from BITS. Later, in 2013, I got transferred to the Xilinx San Jose office in California. So, that’s where I was for the last ten years. A few years back, Xilinx was acquired by AMD, and that’s why I’m associated with AMD now. However, my core responsibilities continued from Xilinx, and I carry the same job profile across the two companies. Thanks to the PS-2 I had at Cosmic Circuits, I got the opportunity to research the radiation effects of particles in memory circuits, causing bit flips. This expertise led me to work with Xilinx, as they were starting a project in the same domain as my research.

Over the last 5 to 7 years, my responsibilities have been on the architecture side: getting the power from the PCB to the package to the memory cell, putting the blocks together, and keeping the chip area under control to not exceed cost targets. Designing a power delivery network was one of the projects we did for 3D devices. Recently, I have been one of the main architects for the next-generation FPGAs.

Is there a particular project of yours or one which was your proudest achievement during your career?

The current project I’m working on. In general, there has been a trend of using high-bandwidth memory connected with SoCs on an interposer using CoWoS. This interposer is just a passive device with metal lines that are used to connect two chips. I’m involved in a project where I’m working on the next generation of this technology, the design, and the conceptualization of how we will connect two chips. This is the proudest and most influential thing I’ve worked on at Xilinx.

You worked at Climate Farm School between these roles. Could you tell us about your experience there?

Personally, even though my passion has always been semiconductors since the Pilani days, in the last few years after having a child, I have been very affected by climate change, so in my free time, I started researching that topic and learning about the different aspects of climate change and where the emissions come from. So, I started blogging about it last year; I have written around 15-20 blogs. Someone recommended the Climate Farm School, where you learn about climate and farming and how those two nexus interact, so I decided to do that course before leaving California. is a very popular climate change-related organization which organized it. I got to do soil tests and understand the aspects of agriculture and climate change that impact each other. I hope to go into the sustainable agriculture field sometime in the future.

How was your academic journey at BITS and then your Masters at UCSD?

I joined BITS in 2006 with an MSc. Mathematics, after studying more than I should have in my first year, I got Electrical and Electronics Engineering as my second degree. I was also a part of the Department of Photography and the Football team; they were my main focus, and I had the time of my life there and took away great memories. It is hard to make those connections after graduating college. During my third year, I started enjoying the electrical courses. I loved the physics of semiconductors, so I focused more on studying my CDCs and got into the semiconductor business.

I went to UCSD thinking I would be working on an interesting project, although that wasn’t the case. The most interesting projects you would be doing at the PhD level. Along the way, I realized that much of my work at Xilinx was very interesting, and I could have easily written a dissertation about my work. So, thankfully, I don’t regret not having the PhD tag, although I understand that tag opens up a whole host of new opportunities.