The benefits of working together: AUA and Mentor celebrate their long-term collaboration

By Sedrak Sargisian – Mentor, A Siemens Business

We recently had the privilege of hosting representatives from the American University of Armenia (AUA) at our offices in Yerevan, Armenia. What was the occasion? The chance to discuss and review our long-standing collaboration with the university, and the successes we have achieved together.

Representatives of the American University of Armenia (AUA) visit Mentor offices in Yerevan. L-R: Narek Ghazaryan, AUA Director of Communications, Dr. Aram Hajian, dean of the AUA Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE), Irina Dumanyan, Mentor-Armenia site manager, AUA President Dr. Karin Markides, and Artur Khalatyan, chair of the AUA Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering and Systems Management (ME IESM) program and CSE industry liaison.

First, a little background…In 2012, the American University of Armenia (AUA) and Mentor Graphics (Mentor), a U.S.-based electronic design automation (EDA) leader, initiated a mutually beneficial collaborative relationship for research and technology development. Since then, our joint projects, partially underwritten by research funding from Mentor, have covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from data compression to mechanical stress modeling and calibration, circuit analysis, chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP) of computer chips, and machine learning. Even after Mentor Graphics became Mentor, a Siemens Business through acquisition, our parent company Siemens recognized the value of and supported the ongoing joint research projects in which the two companies were engaged.

For example, over the last couple of years, Dr. Hayk Nersisyan, chair of AUA’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE) Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BS CS) program, and AUA Adjunct Associate Professor Dr. Michael Poghosyan worked with Dr. Ruben Ghulghazaryan, Research Engineer Principal and Dr. Davit Piliposyan, Senior R&D Engineer from Mentor to develop efficient and scalable methods for solving the pressure equation in CMP simulations. Their research, titled “Application of the Obstacle Problem to Pressure Calculation for CMP Modeling,” was presented at the International Conference on Topical Problems of Continuum Mechanics, and later published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Physics: Conference Series.

“The AUA/Mentor partnership is a win-win collaboration. Mentor gains access to top researchers who help us solve issues that are important for our technology and product development. And AUA gains access to industry-leading IC design technologies.”
Sedrak Sargisian, Mentor

 “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Mentor, a world leader in electronic design automation, and a flagship trailblazer here in Armenia. This is the type of industry-academic partnership in which so many parties can truly benefit and flourish.”
Dr. Aram Hajian, dean of the AUA Akian College of Science and Engineering


L-R: Sedrak Sargisian, Karin Markides, Irina Dumanyan, Aram Hajian, Milena Hovhannisyan, Artur Khalatyan, Narek Ghazaryan

The AUA/Mentor collaboration also enables AUA students to participate in the process of analyzing and discovering solutions to real-world problems as part of a research team. AUA Adjunct Lecturer Dr. Arnak Dalalyan recently guided several AUA students through a research project based on the Bayesian framework.

In 2019, a new project was undertaken to investigate the application of machine learning to deposition process modeling with long-range effects. The outcomes of this research were submitted in early 2020 and will result in a published paper in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Overall, as a result of the AUA and Mentor collaboration, four papers have been submitted to reputable journals and published within the last four years. These were not simply publications, as we have suggested solutions that Mentor is incorporating in the development of their products.”
Dr. Hayak Nersisyan, AUA

Another benefit of the AUA/Mentor collaboration is the opportunity for AUA students to participate in internship programs offered by Mentor. The experience not only enables the students to gain hands-on experience in leading-edge software tool development, but also introduces them to the challenges and opportunities of employment in the EDA industry. To date, four AUA students successfully completed their internships at Mentor, and were subsequently offered full-time positions in the company.

Milena Hovhannisyan (MS CS ’17) completed an internship with Mentor, and was then offered a fulltime position. Today she is a software engineer working in R&D

“Having an internship program is vital for Mentor. We try to identify top talent among the graduating students and offer them long-term paid internships. Every time we have a new job opening, we first consider our interns who are ready to jump in. That’s how we have been growing in Armenia. About 60% of our staff today are former interns.”
Sedrak Sargisian, development engineering director at Mentor

The innovation that can be achieved by bringing together smart, motivated people with a variety of backgrounds and a common interest in problem solving is limitless. Our collaboration with AUA has already resulted in novel solutions for some of the most challenging technology in our industry. All in all, the future looks promising for this partnership!

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