Texas Instruments – Virul Katla

Hello everyone! I am interning at Texas Instruments (TI) India. TI was the first global technological company to establish R&D facility in India. Its primary focus is on developing analog chips and embedded processors. TI has a fascinating history, from being an oil company in Texas to a global semiconductor devices manufacturer. It is at the heart of most of the electronics from industrial to medical and entertainment.

TI India, Bangalore
TI India, Bangalore

Pre intern:

Like every thirdie, my search for an internship began in 5th semester. I was excited to see a lot of core companies offering internships early on. I was predetermined to take up a core intern and TI was among the best choices available so I signed up for it. Texas Instruments selects students for an internship after an online test and two rounds of interviews. Texas Instruments offers internships in digital, analog, signal processing, and software profiles.

The interview was quite chill, they started with questions regarding the projects that I mentioned on my resume before moving to the technical part. I have opted for digital and analog profiles, so the questions included timing analysis, construction of logic gates, making combinational circuits using muxes, optimization of a given circuit and parasitics.

The pre-intern period was well planned by TI, with starter kits and online quizzes (optional though) aimed at familiarizing us with the work environment, which was indeed helpful. The mentors reached out a week early with the problem statements and the relevant learning precursors.

Workplace and Environment:

Apart from gaining technical expertise, I was keen to see the corporate life of a core company. The work timings of the company were quite flexible, as long as the required work was finished. 8:30 to 5 was my routine, followed by an hour of table tennis. With commute time less than 15 min, I didn’t have to wake up early.

The work environment at TI has to be the best part of the internship. It’s the perfect place for any tech-savvy person. Every time my work gets monotonous, I find myself in one of the cubicles of my friends discussing their project. Interns here mostly work on live projects, which calls for a much greater interaction with the team working on it and it made us feel much more inclusive.

One of the best chats I had here was with my mentor. I was surprised to learn that my mentor was also a Kannada movie actor, who had acted in two movies so far. TI’s webpage has a blog called “out of office”, mentioning the people pursuing other activities apart from working at TI. I remember that day when I was reading an article on my mentor regarding how he balances his family, work and hobby. People around here have some serious time management skills and I was lucky to have a chat with some of them. Their inputs have been valuable in helping me complete more than one project during my time here.

My work:

With formal introductory lectures and some mandatory briefing on the security protocols of the company, we were set to start off with our project.

My work was on parasitic element extraction and simulation, EM/IR simulation, and timing analysis. All the work was executed on Cadence. It took a week to get acclimatized to the software and the setup as all the programs are run on LSF’s (Load Sharing Facilities). It was quite messy to work around with so many terminals and windows open, but we got used to it quickly.

Generally, we are expected to finish one problem statement in given time frame of the intern. I was lucky to work on three of them. The first one was related to parasitics extraction and simulation from the layout of a chip in DSPF format to model non-idealities. While the second one was regarding EM/IR analysis, which basically helps in determining the lifetime of a chip based on working conditions. The third wasn’t much of a problem statement but an opportunity to learn how a digital chip is layered, routed from scratch and tested.

Most of the details of the project cannot be disclosed due to NDA restrictions, but the above details should give a fair understanding of what my work was like.

Most of the projects are challenging and I had to interact with a lot of specialists for complete understanding. We are encouraged to come up with better ideas than the existing methodologies. This value for our ideas was encouraging in trying out new things within the project.

Other than work at TI:

Apart from the work, TI has a recreational center called Texins, which offers a gym and facilities for indoor and outdoor sports. It is a go-to place for me and my friends after 5 pm every day. Also, every floor of the TI building has a space for coffee and refreshments (also beanbags!), a place to clear up the clogged mind after long working hours.

We were occasionally called for workshops on presentation skills, talks etc. People around here are very approachable and events like these helped to break the ice.

Lake adjacent to TI bus stand
Lake adjacent to TI bus stand

The office is adjacent to a lake with perennial breezes, the best place to be after breaking a sweat at texins.

Bangalore:

It’s my first visit to Bangalore and I’m not disappointed one bit. Weather in Bangalore is fantastic, but with some unpredictable downpours sometimes, surely this place skips summer :p. Temperatures are low throughout the day, the greenery and lakes throughout city only make you want to go out more.

That day at wonderla
That day at wonderla

The time just before monsoons is the best time to go for a trek to Nandi hills to watch the sunrise and a trip to Coorg. Bangalore palace, fort, Lal Bagh are some other places to visit. My visit to wonderla was one of the best days in Bangalore.

Ending Notes:

The overall experience here has been satisfying and I think I have made some good contacts too. I was happy that we were able to resolve a bug that bugged this team for over two years now. I had choices to pick while taking up the problem statements, and the work has been interesting thus far. With only 2 weeks left, I am lucky that I made significant progress, I expect the coming days to be much more chill and end it with a good presentation.

All’s well that ends well.!

2 years ago