Arm explains why it's excited about India

Prasanth Aby Thomas, DIGITIMES, Bangalore 0

Guru Ganesan, President, Arm India. Credit: Arm.

India's recent initiatives to expand its semiconductor ecosystem have attracted significant attention.

One of the key players in this sector, Arm, believes India presents an exciting opportunity. In a recent interview with DIGITIMES Asia, Guru Ganesan, President of Arm India, outlined the reasons behind their interest and the initiatives underway to capitalize on emerging opportunities.

"Several factors are aligning, including government policies aimed at promoting fabless startups, growing interest from the VC community in Indian deep tech startups, a high-quality Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) talent pool, and promising domestic demand," said Ganesan.

Over the past twenty years, Arm India has expanded from a modest team into a major global research and development hub, employing over 1,000 people across its design centers in Bangalore and Noida.

From startups to education

In recent years, India has established itself as a significant hub for startups, particularly in the technology sector, where it has experienced substantial growth.

Data from Invest India, a government body, indicates substantial increases in funding, investor interest, and incubator support for startups within the country. Between 2015-2022, total funding for startups increased 15-fold, the number of investors grew by 9 times, and the number of incubators increased by 7 times.

Arm has introduced two key programs tailored for startups to simplify the process of building systems-on-a-chip (SoCs).

"Firstly, creating a low-risk path for to integrate their IP with Arm technology by providing complete reference designs that simplify SoC integration and reduce design cycles," Ganesan said. "Secondly, making Arm IP available with no upfront fee through the Arm Flexible Access Program for Startups, which offers IP as well as support, maintenance, tools, and training for startups in the region building custom silicon for various markets such as automotive, IoT and AI inferencing solutions."

Arm is also addressing the education and skills gap, and to that end, it launched a global initiative last year called the Semiconductor Education Alliance. This program has garnered support from prestigious partners such as IIT Jodhpur and the All-India Council for Technical Education.

"The Semiconductor Education Alliance is bringing together key stakeholders across industry, academia, and government to address the growing challenges of finding talent and upskilling the existing workforce," Ganesan said.

Arm India is also engaging various stakeholders, including government, academia, publishers, research organizations, and EdTech companies, to help close education and skills gaps in computer engineering.

"For example, we have partnered with more than 2,400 engineering institutions in India to incorporate Arm technology into their courses," Ganesan said. "Today, Arm is part of the curriculum taught in 96 percent of the engineering institutes across the country, benefiting 800,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students."

Plans in India

In India, Arm has a team of hardware and software engineers who work on architecture development, CPU and system design and verification, software enablement, compute solutions, and physical implementation.

"With more than 70 percent of the world's population using Arm-based products and a total of 280 billion chips shipped – 200 for every person in India – Arm is building the future of computing with its energy-efficient processor designs and software platforms," Ganesan said. "Arm is committed to the Indian market and works closely with partners, including fabless startups and scale-ups, incubation centers, design services companies, universities, and R&D organizations across the country."

The company also fosters the growth of upcoming talent in India by collaborating with educational and governmental organizations.

In a recent initiative, it partnered with the All-India Council for Technical Education to host the third annual Inventors Challenge. This event encourages the next generation of the semiconductor workforce to innovate within crucial sectors such as AI, further developing their acquired skills.

R&D efforts in India

Arm India is a part of Arm's global technology research and product development for next-generation computing, systems, solutions, and software technologies. Arm technologies provide the foundation needed for the ecosystem to accelerate the development of next-generation platforms.

"From extending benefits of AI from the cloud to the edge, to leveraging high-performance compute on 5G and IoT gateways, as well as enabling innovation in the cloud with power-efficient hyperscale and high-performance compute, the future of compute is being built on Arm," Ganesan said. "In the automotive sector, safety compliance is crucial and our team in Bangalore develops Arm Software Test Libraries which complement Arm's functional safety technology, testing for the presence of faults when executing on Arm-based processors at startup and during runtime."

This helps partners accelerate safety compliance and ensure their automotive systems meet industry standards.