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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

February - 2007 - issue > Cover Feature

The Chip Lady

Vidya Balakrishnan
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Vidya Balakrishnan
Walking down the corridors of the large office at Intel in Oregon, Nivruti Rai’s gaze reflected awe, her hand grasping tightly on to the visitor’s badge. Meandering through cubicles and rooms filled with engineers, this 20-something aspiring engineer was secretly wishing for the visitor’s badge to somehow morph into an Intel employee ID. A job at the largest microprocessor company in the world was her goal. That was all, nothing more.

Today, fifteen years down the line, she is racing through the corridors of Intel India. The visitor’s ID replaced, addressing her as Director CDTGI Chipset Group and acknowledging her as the senior most woman executive at Intel India. (The feat being extra special as she is among the few to have achieved this post in a short span at Intel worldwide.) Steering the development team for laptop computers and mobile platform technologies, she is currently heading the latest Chipset project of the Indian R&D center. With a team of 150 engineers, her goal, like her, has transformed through time and presently is stalled at delivering the project. “For the first time, we (Intel India) are responsible for taping out a cutting edge technology based chipset out of India,” she says animatedly. “With around 85 percent of the work being done from here, it is the biggest responsibility we have handled yet.”

Back in India after working on Intel’s newest addition to the CPU space-45nm generation microarchitecture code-named Nehalem and due for a 2008 release-she is making significant strides on the Chipset project in India. Her tenure as Principal Engineer in Intel Digital Enterprise Group for over three years now, where she made significant contributions in developing and driving the circuit design, creating product architecture and project management methodologies and leading the Project Management for developing CAD design tools, serving as the backbone of being a technical leader.

Having grown within the semiconductor industry ever since her career spun off, she is at her innovative best while narrating her latest endeavor with the silicon chip. Two generations ahead of the Quad core processor, the new chipset, defined by her as ‘Intel’s hottest product in line’, is being designed for laptops. “Through this chipset we are trying to tackle and improve the four vectors- weight, battery power, performance and wireless connectivity- troubling current laptop users,” she explains.

But the team’s goal is not limited to improving existing features. One would not expect so with the competitiveness in the microprocessor market escalating by the day. Higher memory density, Blue Ray facility, additional graphic capabilities, improved monitor display are among the new features the chipset claims to offer. In layman’s terms: The chipset presents the user with the same capabilities as a High Division TV on his laptop and gives at least 30 percent more on battery power.


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