Carnegie Mellon University

New Silicon Initiative (NSI)

Apple's New Silicon Initiative (NSI) aims to prepare students for careers in hardware technology, computer architecture, and silicon chip design. The program began in 2019 with Carnegie Mellon University and expanded to include Stanford University and UC Berkeley in 2020. The next year, in partnership with Apple's Racial Equity and Justice Initiative team, four HBCUs joined the initiative: Alabama A&M University, Howard University, Morgan State University, and Prairie View A&M University.

The program's objective is to address the growing demand in the US workforce's IC design and computer architecture areas in the face of growing competition with CS and AI/ML fields. In collaboration with our partner schools, the NSI team provides various modes of support to help increase visibility in microelectronic circuits and hardware design. By reintroducing IC design and tapeout-to-silicon courses in the ECE curriculum, the program enables students to take IC design courses and a VLSI path, while gearing them for a career in hardware engineering.

The Evolution of NSI evolution-of-nsi

Partnership Ingredients
  1. Identify VLSI pathways and curriculum
  2. Engage with students through various initiatives: Guest Lectures by Apple SMEs; Computer Hardware and VLSI Design Clubs
  3. Support NSI courses through tapeout class fabrication and bringup, as well as provide additional resources for TA and lab support
  4. Encourage continued education in VLSI through Scholarship and Fellowship opportunities
  5. Exposure to career opportunities through networking with Apple engineers and Apple internships
  6. Share curriculum across university partners
  7. Customize ingredients on a per-school basis