Home Uncategorized [Request For Interest] Nigeria Rainfall school – Microelectronics And Creative ICT

[Request For Interest] Nigeria Rainfall school – Microelectronics And Creative ICT

This is a generic proposal for Rainfall or Harmattan School in any Nigerian state of African country. Contact us for a specific one for your country/university/business

The PDF version is here



Sponsors: Technical Sponsors: African Institution of Technology, USA; Afrisciences, Germany

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Industry Sponsor:

Platinum Sponsor:

Date: Two weeks in June-Aug /Jan-March


Venue:                  A university or ministry or firm


Preamble: This proposal is submitted with intent to host a rainfall (yes, summer) school where people that are working on emerging technologies like microelectronics and ICT can come together and share ideas that are time-tested to help penetrate and diffuse new technologies in {African country}. The motivation is to provide the foundation upon which local professionals and students can build towards developing the industries from the creative viewpoints. The program technical sponsor are Afrisciences and African Institution of Technology, two not-for-profit organizations incorporated in Germany and USA respectively that bring leading experts in Europe, US, Canada and indeed all corners of the globe to provide technical leadership to nurture a new generation of African technical leaders. Members include professors in top global universities and technical leaders in major international corporations. The school is scheduled during the rainy season (June-Aug 2010) and will operate in scope as a typical summer school in the temperate region.


Introduction: Over the last few decades, new technology applications have become very central to the process of socio-economic development of nations. The application of information and communication technology integrates people, processes and tools efficiently and cheaply boosts economic growth and productivity. It continues to revolutionize all aspects of human existence, both in the public and private sectors, by connecting individuals, organizations, and countries electronically in mutually dependent global relationships.


Increasingly, the world is experiencing new dimensions in knowledge acquisition, creation, dissemination and usage. Microelectronics, the engine of modern commerce and industry, directly or indirectly, is enabling these revolutionary changes. When this technology advances, a dawn emerges in global economy in speed, efficiency and capacity. Yet, despite its pervasive impacts on daily lives and businesses, it remains to be diffused in Africa. A vision of knowledge workers cannot be achieved in this continent without a creative microelectronics program. Accordingly, Afrisciences and AFRIT were formed to provide technical direction and support to universities, policy-makers and small and medium enterprises towards advancing Africa’s technical capability, including microelectronics, signal processing and embedded systems in general.


Benefits to {African country}: To plan for a competitive {African country} economy, technology must play a vital role. Positioning the nation as a leader in African commerce and industry will require training and education in emerging fields of science and engineering. This program will help to develop a generation of knowledge workers that will use their skills to advance the nation. Understanding the relationship between technology and innovation, a professor of business innovation/entrepreneurship will participate in this program. The aim is to inspire the students to see their skills as instruments to create new knowledge and wealth; not just to seek employment. By bringing this school to {African country}, Afrisciences will assist local professors and students to get acquainted with the processes and techniques involved in making microchips which are used in cell phone, cameras, computers, etc. It will also offer a platform to facilitate a dialogue towards which the government can work with the multinationals like Dell, HP, and Intel to establish plants in the country if the required knowledge capital is available. Elementary economics teaches that firms localize their plants and factories where they have available labor. This school offers to open a microelectronics era in {African country}, which is creative and not just consumptive.


To {African country} students, they will come to experience the fascinating field of microelectronics and creative ICT from experts who have published in leading journals and wrote textbooks. These students will understand the connections between transistors and cellphones; fabrication processes and computers; signal processing and great cameras; etc without forgetting the usability of the products they develop. They will be linked with peers across the globe and they will begin a journey of discovery and innovation.


This school, besides universities with the professors, teachers and students, is opened to SMEs. We understand that the engine for innovation in any economy is the SME and helping them to transmute into different aspects of microelectronics and creative ICT in {African country} will be strategic to the nation and her people.


SCHOOL STRUCTURE: This school will provide the opportunity to evaluate different technical design paradigms as well as offer participants the opportunity to articulate the roadmaps on how {African country} can transfer and diffuse microelectronics and creative ICT. Creative ICT includes for example designing and building video games over playing video games; developing websites over using facebook to update profile; etc. It will discuss the theme under the following topics:


  • Education and training (for both schools and small businesses): We will educate and train on design, process and technology using computer aided design (CAD), videos and blackboard. The technical tasks will be examined in another section of this document.
  • Tools and equipment: We will explain what has to happen to have a solid educational and training program. We look for training entrepreneurs and universities and explain what a modern microelectronics lab will look like.
  • Business opportunities: The future of microelectronics is very promising. This school will feature a seminar to {African country} technical business community on what the prospects are. There are opportunities in CAD vending, PCB design and development, packaging etc.
  • CAD & vendors, toolkits, techfiles: Many multinational firms give out the CAD tools used in design and development free to schools. {African country} schools will be introduced to Cadence Academic Network where they can seek for CAD for educational purposes. Afrisciences and AFRIT will introduce researchers and technical business community to networks of toolkits and techfiles where they can collaborate. As done in advanced nations, this school will help {African country} schools take advantage of royalty free CAD programs.
  • Engaging in multi-project system (for e.g., France based European Union’s CMP: http://cmp.imag.fr/). A South African school uses CMP for its microchip prototype fabrication. We will help to lecture on how to structure central Multi-Project System to coordinate design and fabrication activities for SMEs and schools in {African nation}.
  • Economics & finance: A half day panel discussion on how emerging technology could help {African country} and best way to advance technical capability with issues examining financing for government to build and establish centers of excellence on microelectronics. In a seminar, Afrisciences and AFRIT will make a presentation on grant opportunities for {African country} researchers in this area and how they can connect to the international community and build linkages for technology transfer. On this note, Afrisciences and AFRIT require {African country} economists and policy experts to share ideas with our technical crew. Nonetheless, Afrisciences and AFRIT have members with doctorate in management and MBA and very knowledgeable in developmental economics.


It will also examine how to introduce local Academic Network, introduce small businesses to CAD vending programs on FPGA, VLSI, etc and discuss transiting from downstream consumptive ICT to upstream ICT. Just as the SME (small and medium enterprises) helped in the diffusion of IT in {African country} through training based on the ‘business-center model’, they have a role to develop {African country} microelectronics industry. The acceleration of CAD vending, maintenance and support within the economy must be a business opportunity while the universities, government and other research centers will focus on generating ideas and knowledge. The sheer synergy of these activities will have profound effects on the {African country} economy.


The school will borrow strategic models from the United State MOSIS program, European Union CMP and Canadian CMC. These bodies, supported by their respective governments continue to play major roles in the process of training, education and prototype validation of systems.  {African country} will need a plan like that and considering the nation’s limited resources, harmonization of operations across universities and businesses is a necessity. Also, directions required to jumpstart a vibrant microelectronics industry in {African country} will be offered in this school. Afrisciences and AFRIT will help government of {African country} develop a proposal (upon formal request to us) for Microelectronics Training and Research Institute (will incorporate technical, financial, managerial and operational issues needed to develop and establish a modern institute- from cleanroom to microfabrication lab to training) to be funded by the government or via World Bank grant. This school will surely help in making it more relevant by providing the understanding of the contending factors. This is part of our continuity management in supporting {African country} professionals post-school. Equipping selected labs or building an Institute will bring a new era in {African country}.


Participants: For the seminar, incorporating panel discussion, it would be opened to all. Academic community (professors, lecturers, administrators, students); microelectronics researchers and professionals; ICT experts and professionals; government and policy-makers; trade associations, general public, roboticists, technical business-owners, technology transfer economists, press, SMEs, etc.


For school, engineering and science students from 3rd year (and upwards) of university or polytechnic education in the following fields: Electrical, Electronics, Computer engineering, Computer science, Information Systems, Physics and related areas. This school will teach the design of microprocessors, biosensors (for human brain, heart, retina, muscles and neural spikes), neuron and controllers, energy storage microchips, usability, etc starting from first principle. Using CMOS technology and CAD (computer aided design) tools, Afrisciences and AFRIT will guide through all the steps used in developing chips that drive our computers, cellphones, cameras, etc. Efforts would be made to assist participants to take advantage of the CAD systems and incorporate them into school lab manuals. This is purely technical in nature and the tasks to be covered include:



  • Microelectronics: introduction, history, evolution and global trends
  • CMOS IC Design/manufacturing process (with 3D modeling/videos)
  • Device Physics: performance/reliability, device material, and process technology
  • Areas: Nanotechnology, Neuromorphics/biomorphic, MEMS and BIOMENS


  • Introduction and overview of VLSI CMOS design
  • Fundamental of digital, analog and mixed signal designs
  • Steps: specifications and device physics, schematics, layout, extraction, etc
  • CMOS Nanometer challenges: power dissipation & interconnect noise
  • Fabrication and multi-project foundries
  • CAD: uses, vendors and programs for schools
  • Design kits, modeling, technology libraries, etc
  • CMOS roadmap

PCB, FPGA, Microcontroller Designs

  • PCB Design process
  • PIC/SX (microcontroller) Designs and General DSP process (prototyping Boards)
  • Hardware description Language (VHDL)/FPGA design

Design flows of some demonstrative systems

  • Biosignal (brain, eye, muscle, etc) acquisition and processing chip
  • Pipelined/Delta Sigma ADCs and R-2R ladder DAC
  • Amplifiers/comparators
  • RISC Microprocessor (with counters, ALU, control unit, etc)
  • Silicon neuron and synapses

Fault tolerance & Dependability

Simulation & Modeling


Embedded System Design

  • Introduction in Embedded Systems, Challenges, Optimizing Metrics, Example
  • Presentation of the lab infrastructure
  • Embedded Processors: Application Specific Processors (ASIC), General Purpose Processor (von Neumann, superscalar and VLIW Architectures), Domain Specific Processors (DSPs, ASIPs, Microcontrollers), Reconfigurable Processors
  • Memory System: RAM, OTP ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, DRAM, SRAM, PSRAM, NVRAM, Caches, MMU, DRAM , Multiported RAM
  • Interfacing: Basics of Communication in Embedded Systems, Interfacing the microprocessor: Port and Busses, Standard I/O, Memory Map, Interrupt, DMA, Communication Paradigm: Busses, Protocols, Arbitration, Network on Chip, Routing,  Examples: I2C, CAN, FireWire, USB, PCI, IrDA, Bluetooth
  • Standard Components in Embedded Systems: Timers, Counters, Watchdogs, UART, LCD-Controllers, Keypad-Controllers, Step Motor Controller, ADC, DAC, Real-time Clock
  • Introduction to t he  Design Environment Xilinx ISE
  • Design and Simulation of a Seven Segment Display (SSG), Multi-SSG control, Testbench Generation.
  • FPGA Lab: Design of an Alarm Clock, Design of a Traffic Light Controller, design of a Pong Game
  • Application: Embedded Vision Systems

Usability and User Interfaces

  • User, Task and Context Analysis
  • Interaction Design Patterns
  • Usability Standards

Topics on selected ICT areas

Financials and Materials Needed: For the success of this program, Afrisciences and AFRIT must advertise it within {African country}. This can be done through the support of the government. But it must be done to create awareness to local students, entrepreneurs and professors. A quarter-page advert in the leading local newspaper will suffice. The following is planned to enable the rainfall school which will run for two weeks.

# of seminars 1 (we estimate >1000 people to attend)
Estimate of participants for school 100 students, 10 SMEs
Advert in national dailies 1
International Transportation & accommodation/{African country} Varies
Computers/tools Local and internationally shipped
Seminar venue cost free
School venue cost free
Revenue (program is free) Zero revenue because it is free
Accommodation for travelling participants: students free; businesses support themselves varies
# Universities and polytechnics to reach All
# Local resource people (profs, industry and policy) At least 6


Funding: Government, local MNCs in {African country}, Schools, MNCs, firms, etc


Contact: Sam [email protected]

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