VPEC seminar on campus attracts
international researchers, recruiters
By Teresa Shaw
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 09 - October 23, 1997
"The job market is hot in power electronics," remarked John Bazinet, a principal design engineer from Unitrode Corp. in New Hampshire, who attended the 15th annual Virginia Power Electronics Center (VPEC) Electronics Seminar at Virginia Tech, September 28-30. Bazinet said he came to the seminar to find good candidates among the graduate-student presenters for several open engineering positions in his company.
More than 190 participants--representing 17 nations and 73 companies and organizations--attended the seminar. In addition to presentations by several faculty members and 60 graduate students on VPEC research topics, including electronic ballast and electric vehicles, the seminar offered demonstrations and a laboratory tour. Senior researcher Johann Kolar traveled from a technical school in Austria to compare the VPEC laboratory and equipment with those at his university.
One reason the seminar attracts researchers and recruiters from throughout the U.S. and other nations is VPEC's university-industry partnership program. More than 50 industry partners provide seed money to fund VPEC's research and graduate fellowships; in turn, the center provides solutions to the industrial partners' problems. A current project funded by six companies--Intel, Texas Instruments, National Semiconductor, Delta Electronics, SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, and International Rectifier--is targeted at developing a method of super-fast power delivery for computer chips that operate at giga-hertz speeds. VPEC Director Fred C. Lee coordinated this mini-consortium of interested companies to sponsor the VPEC research.