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The largest ever gift-in-kind to UT will give students the opportunity to design and develop state-of-the-art computer chips.

UT and Cadence Design Systems officials announced Wednesday a $47.7 million gift of software to the College of Engineering.

It will be used in the college’s Very Large Scale Integration(VLSI)laboratory, where students design integrated circuits, said Dr. Jerry Stoneking, dean of the College of Engineering.

The designs then are produced by an outside chip maker and sent back to the university for testing to assure they perform as the students intended, said Dr. Donald Bouldin, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Gifts-in-kind are non-cash donations such as works of art, equipment or software.
UT valued the Cadence gift at $47.7 million, its approximate cost with an educational discount.

UT President J. Wade Gilley said the Cadence gift addresses three of the university’s major initiatives in its goal to become a top 25 public university.

“First, and most importantly, this generous gift benefits students,” Gilley said. “Our students will have access to the same tools that circuit designers in the private sector are using. That gives them a great advantage in the job market when they graduate.

“The faculty will use the software in their research. That advances our goal of becoming one of the nation’s best research universities — one that creates jobs and contributes to the economic development of the state.”

A third priority of the UT president is recognition for the university as one of higher education’s leaders in information technology.

Bouldin and Dr. Danny Newport, associate professor, worked with Cadence for more than 18 months to obtain the gift, Stoneking said.

Bouldin said testing complex circuits will be much faster using the new software.

“Using this software is like riding in a Lamborghini race car instead of having to walk,” Bouldin said. “You can get from the idea stage to the working chip much faster.”

Newport said students using the software can spend more time learning and less time testing designs. Faculty also will be able to complete research on larger projects in much less time, Newport said.

“The Cadence gift underscores the fact that our priorities are correct and we are making progress in achieving our goals,” Gilley said. “We hope that the General Assembly will find the resources in the upcoming legislative session to allow us to make even greater strides.”

Cadence Design Systems has its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.