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Surprising Engineering Creativity goes into Semiconductor "Chip Art"

The creativity needed in engineering to design semiconductor chips flows over to more traditional art forms.

It may surprise others, but engineers and other technically minded folks know that they create some of the most amazing art. Such works of engineering may sometimes lay hidden, as in the case of tiny chip art sculptures discovered in 1996 by the Smithsonian.

Another example occurred ten years later in 2016 at the 53rd Design Automation Conference (DAC), held that year in Austin, TX. This event was apparently the first art show in the conference’s long history.

It takes creativity to conceive of and then design functioning leading-edge electronic systems and components. Perhaps that’s what prompted the silicon and technology art show to showcase that beauty in more traditional art.

Examples from the art exhibition included shots of a silicon die, design floorplans and placemats, 3-D wiring and clock visualizations, lithographic images, thermal maps, and more. Several awards were given depending upon best visualization, photo, most inspiring, and the like. This gallery highlights those award-winning entries as well as a sampling of the other contributions.

John Blyler is a Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an editor and engineer within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier

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