From left. Sedrak Sargisian, Karin Markides, Irina Dumanyan, Aram Hajian, Milena Hovhannisyan, Artur Khalatyan, Narek Ghazaryan

Celebrating Long-Term Collaboration of AUA and Mentor, a Siemens Business

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YEREVAN – The American University of Armenia (AUA) and Mentor, a Siemens business and US-based electronic design automation leader, initiated a mutually beneficial collaborative relationship back in 2012. Since then, AUA researchers have annually engaged in joint research projects on a wide variety of topics, including data compression, mechanical stress modeling and calibration, circuit analysis, chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP) of computer chips, and machine learning. The projects were conducted with annual research funding from Mentor.

“We highly value our long-term collaboration with Mentor. The joint research projects have developed a strong link between academia and industry. Not only do our faculty members benefit from this collaboration, but also our students get the opportunity to acquire firsthand experience by being part of research teams, as well as interning at Mentor,” noted AUA President Dr. Karin Markides.

In March 2020, Dr. Markides, accompanied by Dr. Aram Hajian, dean of the AUA Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE), Artur Khalatyan, chair of the Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering and Systems Management (ME IESM) program and CSE industry liaison, and Narek Ghazaryan, director of Communications, visited Mentor’s local office. Sedrak Sargisian, development engineering director at Mentor, and Irina Dumanyan, Mentor-Armenia site manager, welcomed the AUA delegation and briefed them on the recent milestones reached through their collaboration.

“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. In addition, upon the successful completion of each project, we publish joint research articles,” remarked Sargisian.

AUA and Mentor Joint Research Projects

Dr. Hayk Nersisyan, chair of the CSE’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BS CS) program, together with AUA Adjunct Associate Professor Dr. Michael Poghosyan and Adjunct Lecturer Dr. Arnak Dalalyan, became part of the research collaboration of AUA and Mentor in 2017. They worked in parallel on two projects lasting two years each.

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Having developed efficient and scalable methods to solve the pressure equation in CMP simulator, Dr. Nersisyan, the principal investigator, along with Dr. Poghosyan and two other collaborators participated in the VI International Conference on Topical Problems of Continuum Mechanics. Their paper titled “Application of the Obstacle Problem to Pressure Calculation for CMP Modeling” was published in the conference proceedings in 2019. The outcomes of their research were also published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 2020.

Another project based on the Bayesian framework was conducted by Dr. Dalalyan in collaboration with several AUA students. So, the AUA and Mentor collaboration has allowed AUA students to also engage in the process of discovering solutions to real-life problems.

In 2019, Dr. Nersisyan started another project working on the application of machine learning to deposition process modeling with long-range effects. The outcomes of the 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,” highlighted Dr. Nersisyan. “I am happy to share that our recent project on machine learning for CMP is going to evolve into a new stage.”

Internship Programs for AUA Students

Through the AUA and Mentor collaboration, AUA students have had the opportunity to participate in a well-established internship program offered by Mentor. This experience allows our students to gain hands-on experience in modern software tool development and get ready for the challenges of employment.

“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,” said Sargisian.

So far, four AUA students have successfully completed internships at Mentor, subsequently being offered full-time positions in the company. Milena Hovhannisyan (MS CS ‘17), a recipient of the AUA/MoES scholarship, is still working for Mentor: “I had an opportunity to intern at Mentor for four months before leaving Armenia to study abroad. Upon my return, I got a message from the Armenian site manager Irina Dumanyan, to continue my internship there. I was excited to continue my internship at Mentor.” After completing her internship, Hovhannisyan was offered the position of junior engineer and, almost a year and a half later, promoted to software engineer.

“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,” affirmed Dr. Hajian.

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