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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

Atrenta: Building on long-term relationships

June 27th, 2013 by Peggy Aycinena

Atrenta VP Mike Gianfagna graciously extended an invitation to attend an event this evening in Grenoble, France. Jointly sponsored by CEA-Leti and Atrenta, Mike said the event was to be held on the CEA-Leti campus “in conjunction with Leti Innovations Days” and would “toast the progress Atrenta has made at its R&D facility in the city.”

It would have been great to have been there, as I was in Grenoble back in March 2011 when Atrenta first inaugurated its R&D center at the Micro and Nanotechnologies Innovation Center (MINATEC) in the city. The 2011 event was marked by a wonderful wine-enriched reception and a series of speakers articulating Atrenta’s vision in partnering with MINATEC. Those speakers included Atrenta CEO Ajoy Bose and STMicro’s Executive Vice President Philippe Magarshack, among others. You can see my original 2011 post below for more details.

Alternatively, if you want to know more about this evening’s reception in Grenoble, I have cut-and-pasted Mike Giafagna’s notes immediately below that he sent summarizing the event after the fact. It was not surprising to learn that Ajoy Bose spoke this evening, but to learn that Philippe Magarshack was also there, as he was in 2011, gives pause.

Planned product obsolescence may be a strategy that generates revenue streams for cunning technology companies, but planned relationship obsolescence accomplishes just the opposite. Any company that sees its business relationships as  ‘disposable’ has no business relationships at all, particularly in a global behemoth the likes of the semiconductor industry. This is a concept that Atrenta clearly grasps, and demonstrates, in hosting their events in Grenoble. Atrenta’s business relationships are built with an eye on the long-term benefits of respect and continuity.

Such continuity of endorsement – as evidenced by Philippe Magarshack – reflects the benefits of long-term partnering across corporations, and by extension, the benefits of long-term partnering across corporations and universities, and across corporations and geographic regions. Atrenta makes it look easy, but it’s a process that takes time, patience, respect – and often, some very, very good wine!


June 2013 …

Per Mike Gianfagna: The Atrenta event focused on the progress made at its R&D center in Grenoble. This location was started two years ago.  There are now approximately 20 people employed at the facility, with the majority of staff working on IC design technology associated with advanced power reduction, formal methods and stacked-die 3D design.

The theme of the evening was: A celebration of Grenoble – a place where research, industry and government come together for technology advancement. Several distinguished speakers presented their points of view on the topic of ecosystem collaboration for technology advancement:

Ajoy Bose, Chairman, President and CEO of Atrenta began the evening with a discussion of Atrenta’s substantial progress to build a world-class advanced research facility in a very short period of time in Grenoble.

Philippe Magarshack, Executive Vice President of Design Enablement and Services at STMicroelectronics then discussed some of the important work being done in the Grenoble ecosystem.  He highlighted the work to develop advanced FD-SOI semiconductor manufacturing technology – a major investment for the region.

Alain Cottalorda spoke next. He is head of Minatec Enterprises and President of AEPI, the Grenoble-Isère economic development organization, but he addressed the audience about government commitment to advanced research in Grenoble in his role of Counselor of the Isère General Council.

Also present from local government was Christian Pichoud, Vice President for economic affairs at the Grenoble-Isère County Council.

Thierry Collette, Vice President, Architecture, IC Design and Embedded Software at Leti concluded remarks for the evening by discussing some of the research activities underway at Leti.


March 2011 …

Per my blog: In conjunction with DATE 2011, on Thursday evening, March 17th, Atrenta inaugurated its new R&D center on the MINATEC campus in Grenoble. MINATEC, the Micro and Nanotechnologies Innovation Center, is set in the north of the city, near to the World Trade Center, and is surrounded by towering Alpine peaks.

Atrenta has had a relationship with MINATEC for 10 years. Now, however, that relationship has been formalized with the hiring of multiple PhD’s based on the campus, who will constitute the Atrenta R&D team in Grenoble. Occasionally, as a journalist, you are lucky enough to attend an event where graciousness and sincerity are served in equal measure with the wine. Thursday’s reception was one of those events, with Atrenta Vice President of Marketing Mike Gianfagna acting as MC and setting the tone.

As dusk deepened on the rugged wind-swept peaks looming over the campus, Gianfagna welcomed the many attendees, thanked CEA-Leti Research Director Ahmed Amine Jerraya for logistical help in setting up the event, praised the theme – Wines of the Rhone Valley – and introduced the evening’s speakers.

Grenoble Deputy Mayor, MP Geneviève Fioraso, President of SEM MINATEC Enterprises, started by remembering the people of Japan. “No matter what you think of nuclear power, the suffering in Japan at this moment is the only concern for all of us,” she said.

Mdm. Fioraso then welcomed Atrenta to the Grenoble Cluster, said Time Magazine recently identified the city as the “Secret Technology Capital of Europe” given its extensive partnering between industry, research and academia, and added that the region will be enhanced by Atrenta’s presence.

She also noted – to the delight of her champagne-sipping audience – that in addition to the plethora of local research initiatives [distributed, smart, and embedded systems among them], Grenoble also offers countless bistros for coffee and informal drinks, which will undoubtedly promote even further collaborative innovation between Atrenta’s researchers at MINATEC and their colleagues in the area.

St Microelectronics Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Office Loïc Liétar, Chairman of Minalogic, also spoke. Among his remarks, he noted, “If manufacturing goes away, so does the research and development in a region.” Lietar said that concern about the manufacturing base is as much a part of the motivation for those who have worked so hard to create the Grenoble Cluster, as is the widespread interest in creating an environment for collegiality and creativity in high tech.

Addressing Atrenta employees in the audience, Liétar pointed out that the company has operations in California and India, as well as in Grenoble. “Now you will be doing additional marketing for us here in Grenoble,” he said. “You will carry our flag high whenever you talk to customers or colleagues in other places around the world.”

STMicro Group Vice President for Technology R&D Philippe Magarshack spoke next, and briefly. Perhaps not surprising, given that he gave two different keynotes at DATE this week and appeared on multiple panels at the conference. Magarshack welcomed Atrenta, warmly praised the company’s leadership and said, “Engineers are the engines who generate the energy in an ecosystem.” He agreed with the earlier speakers in saying that Atrenta will add to the intellectual fabric of the Grenoble Cluster.

Jean-René Lèquepeys, Vice President Architecture, IC Design & Embedded Software Division at CEA-LETI, then came to the raised dais. He said more than 25 companies in the Grenoble region are working on design tools, and specifically mentioned Atrenta’s ongoing contributions to 3D-IC design. Lèquepeys said LETI looks forward to further collaboration with Atrenta and enthusiastically welcomed the company to the region.

Finally, Atrenta Chairman, President and CEO Ajoy Bose stepped to the microphone and thanked everyone for their kind words. He said, “Atrenta is now 10 years old, and our relationship with Grenoble is also 10 years old. So, of course it was a very easy decision to [establish our facility here]. We are delighted to now have multiple PhD’s on our Grenoble staff, all graduates of the local universities.”

With his characteristic presence and poise, Bose praised the leadership of the Grenoble Cluster and the quality of the research being done at local companies, many of which have a global reach. He thanked MINATEC for their cooperation in establishing the Atrenta facility and said he looked forward to many years of additional technical breakthroughs from Grenoble.

Mike Gianfagna closed the presentations by inviting everyone to enjoy the flight of wines awaiting them at the tables, along with the lovely spread of food. The speakers gathered for a photograph, while the many, many people in the room lucky enough to be there retired to savor the marvelous array of culinary offerings. It was indeed a great pleasure to be among them.


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