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APPLE New Silicon Initiative (NSI) at Alabama A&M University

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About NSI

Silicon and hardware technologies are responsible for the key components that bring intelligence to smartphones, computers, tablets, smartwatches, and more. It’s become increasingly difficult to find products that don’t have semiconductor technology in them. Everyday products, from wireless speakers to vacuums and coffee makers, contain sensors, processors, intelligent power management, wireless communication and more, that are all designed, architected, validated and tested by silicon engineers.

Alabama A&M University is one of four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to receive an Apple Innovation Grant, designed to support Schools of Engineering at as they  develop their silicon and hardware technologies curriculum in partnership with Apple’s experts. The three-year grant comes as part of Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative and the company’s New Silicon Initiative, designed to inspire and prepare students for careers in hardware engineering, computer architecture, and silicon chip design.

Alabama A&M’s Innovation Grant from Apple is being used to provide funding and other support for lab space, guest lectures, scholarships, faculty training, curriculum support, and more. The main components of the program include:

  • Guest Lectures - Apple engineers will lecture in selected VLSI courses and provide project review throughout the semester.

  • New Tapeout Class - Students can participate in the VLSI course sequence, culminating in a new Tapeout course for practical chip design and fabrication.

  • Student Mentorship - Experts are available for weekly Open-Mic sessions to discuss Apple technology, career advice, interview prep and many other topics.

  • Internships and Scholarships - Students can apply to summer research opportunities and scholarships this fall.

Opportunities for Students

Integrated circuit design and engineering is more critical than ever. With a slowing of Moore’s law and end of Dennard scaling, challenges abound to deliver ever increasing performance and power efficiency. Apple has long recognized these challenges, and develops world-class silicon for its products. Through this engagement, Alabama A&M is very excited to offer scholarships and TA opportunities beginning this summer. This program recognizes a few top students with expressed interest in IC engineering, SoC design, Verification, Test, and Computer Architecture.Timing Applications can be submitted and finalists will be interviewed as part of the evaluation process. Check back later this summer for more information on the application deadlines:

  • Application open: mid-August, 2024
  • Application deadline: mid-September, 2024
  • Finalist interviews: October and November 2024
  • Decisions: December, 2024

New Undergraduate Courses

Apple engineers are working with the Alabama A&M faculty to support a variety of VLSI courses. Subject matter experts from Apple will provide guest lectures for courses in Integrated Circuit Design, Computer Architecture and many other areas in the VLSI curriculum. This culminates with a new Tapeout Course in Integrated Circuit Design. Tapeout is the final design process before a circuit is sent for manufacturing. Student teams will create the specification, circuit design and verification for tapeout, and their designs will be sent for fabrication at the end of the semester. Apple engineers will be available to mentor and approve the designs throughout the semester.

Interested? Please contact Dr. Zhigang Xiao or your academic advisor or to learn more about the new courses in VLSI.




AAMU  EE – CS Potential Tape Out






Opportunities for Graduate Students

The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is currently offering a  Graduate Scholarship and Teaching Assistant (TA) Opportunity for MSEE Graduate Students and a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Computer Engineering and VLSI for recent PhD graduates in VLSI design, digital logic or computer architecture.