Campus: CSU, Northridge -- March 07, 2001
Software Gift Gives CSUN Students Tools to Design the Future

NORTHRIDGE, Calif., March 7, 2001 - As the academic year at Cal State Northridge nears its end, dozens of electrical and computer engineering students are crowding into a senior design lab to test theories and create prototypes of circuit boards and other equipment they will soon be making in the real world.

Among the tools they are using are more than $77 million in software packages, a gift from San Jose-based Cadence Design System, Inc.

Laurence Caretto, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, said the Cadence gift was "greatly appreciated."

"This software gift will allow our students to use the latest professional design tools in their classes," Caretto said. "It helps us produce graduates who are ready to work their first day on the job. This gift and similar gifts from other companies and individuals provide an essential component of support for our educational programs."

Electrical and computer engineering professor Sharlene Katz said Cadence has basically given CSUN students access to its complete line of software used in electrical and computer engineering and has promised to update it each year to make sure it is the most current in the field.

The software is installed in CSUN's Electrical and Computer Engineering Senior Design Lab, where graduating seniors use it to work on their senior design projects.
"Every senior student has to do a senior design project before they graduate, and the lab is basically their workroom," Katz said.

The students can create a schematic of their design, say for an analogue circuit board, and enter it into a computer. Using the Cadence software, they can identify and then get the bugs of out their design. When that is done, again using the Cadence software, they can create a printed layout of their proposed circuit board, Katz said.

"The software can really take them from the beginning to the end of the project and give them a feel for what it is like to work in the real world," Katz said. "It makes what they learn in the classroom very real."

Katz said that many of the companies CSUN students go on to work at, such as in the defense industry or the computer industry, use Cadence or similar software.

"Companies looking to hire electronic engineering students when they graduate are looking for people who are familiar with the Cadence tools, and our students will definitely be familiar with them," she said.

California State University, Northridge has more than 29,000 full- and part-time students and offers 58 bachelor's and 50 master's degrees. Founded on 1958, it is the only four-year university in the San Fernando Valley.

CSUN's College of Engineering and Computer Science is nationally recognized. A recent National Science Foundation survey of 529 universities ranked CSUN among the top 12 in the number of graduates who go on to earn doctorates in the computer sciences and engineering. It is also ranked 14th in the nation in the number of bachelors degrees awarded to Hispanic students, qualifying the campus to be recognized by U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic Serving Institution.

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