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New Intel speaker series at ASU connects lab and fab

Each event helps align Fulton engineering's academic, research activities with industry challenges, future opportunities

Cartoon illustration of tech students and workers amid abstract cog wheels.

The Intel Masters Speaker Series connects expert industry researchers with ASU faculty and students to improve understanding across both organizations and to reveal opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration. Illustration by Dana Hernandez/ASU

June 27, 2022

Dario Solis understands the potential of industry collaborations.

Solis helps to foster connections between the Ira. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University and technology companies in fields such as communications, transportation, manufacturing, semiconductors and the Internet of Things. 

“Industry collaboration is vital to the success of any research university,” says Solis, the business development director for the Business Engagement Catalyst in the Fulton Schools. “These relationships play an important role in scientific discovery and technology development, as well as academic achievement and workforce development.”

One recent example is a new series of topical presentations with Intel Corporation.

“It’s called the Intel Masters Speaker Series. Expert researchers from the company come to campus and discuss the focus of their work with a gathering of relevant ASU faculty and students,” Solis says. “These interactions enhance understanding between academic labs and industry fabs (fabrication sites), as well as reveal opportunities for collaboration that can yield mutual benefit.”

The new series launched at the end of February in the Memorial Union building on the university’s Tempe campus. Henning Braunisch, a principal engineer for Components Research at Intel, spoke about advanced microelectronic packaging, which he describes as the science of interfacing powerful, yet fragile, microchips with the outside world.

“Advanced microelectronic packaging now combines many chips in three dimensions, and it’s a key vector to enable greater functionality and performance,” he says. “So it’s an exciting time for related, highly interdisciplinary engineering and research.”

Braunisch says he enjoyed interacting with an audience that was eager to listen and ask questions demonstrating an excellent level of understanding. Among the enthusiastic attendees was Hongbin Yu, an associate professor of electrical engineering in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the seven Fulton Schools at ASU.

“I thought it was a great event. Henning presented truly state-of-the-art material on packaging, such as Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge,” Yu says. “EMIB is a breakthrough that allows dies (small blocks of semiconductor material) from different manufacturer foundries, or even different generations of technology, to be integrated together.”

Yu says this work at Intel is closely related to his own research in embedding passive components onto a semiconductor chip or into a microelectronic package to enable more efficient power delivery. He also says industry’s perpetual drive to miniaturize devices represents significant technological challenges, so the ability to connect with experts like Braunisch is extremely valuable to future achievement.

“We’ve already met again, at a technology conference, and we discussed possible collaboration on packaging work,” Yu says.

The second event of the Intel Masters Speaker Series was held in mid-April, once again at the Memorial Union building in Tempe. Mani Janakiram, senior director and senior artificial intelligence principal engineer for data and analytics at Intel, discussed the transition to autonomous supply chains in a presentation called "The Rise of Smart Machines.”

“All of us need to understand and embrace the AI and digitization that are revolutionizing our day-to-day lives. For example, as we learned during COVID, the supply chain is no longer a secondary consideration; it’s critical to everything we do,” Janakiram says. “So learning about the supply chain, AI and digital transformation will help students to launch their careers in a meaningful fashion and contribute to our society.”

According to Solis, the success of this new series reinforces key components of long-term collaboration between ASU and Intel. One of them is maintaining the alignment of Fulton Schools academic programs and research activities with the company’s current challenges and its plans for the future.

“Another component relates to appropriate scale. How much talent do we need to cultivate in each of many different fields to operate a stable and robust workforce pipeline for industry?” Solis says. “These speaker events foster regular, open exchanges among scientists, engineers, faculty and students that can help achieve these priorities for everyone’s benefit.”

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