Piña holds a silicon wafer medallion commending his service.
For more than two decades, MOSIS has enabled government, business and academic (including student) microchip designers to realize prototypes of their designs economically, by aggregating hundreds of such designs on a single wafer. Piña took over the enterprise in its infancy.
A large and enthusiastic group gathered for lunch June 30 to eat Cuban food— in honor of Piña's birthplace — and toast the a great ISI success story.
In his remarks, Piña recalled that he joined ISI in 1987 for what he thought would be two or three years.
Instead he took over the leadership of the organization originally set up as an in-house chip foundry for DARPA and other government agencies, and, as ISI executive director Schorr explained, made a successful transition to serving academia and industry as well.
"He has left very big shoes for [his successor] Wes Hanford to fill," said Schorr.
The assembled MOSIS staff watched as Piña received two memorials: a USC jacket, and a chip wafer inscribed with his name.
from left: Piña, ISI executive director Herbert Schorr, MOSIS director-designate Wes Hansford
The next step was a musicale presented by a Hawaii-inspired group ukeleled by MOSIS operations manager Kathleen Fry.
"Thank you all for your support," said Piña "I have been lucky to work with this staff for twenty years. Any success has been due to you: I just shuffle papers."
Hansford, who is taking over as MOSIS director, offered a detailed history of Piña's career:
"I have had the pleasure of working with César for over 20 years. During that time he has guided MOSIS, we have gone from a DARPA funded service supporting only a few commercial customers to a successful self-funded service with commercial users from hundreds of firms, both large and small - as well as our ongoing support for government and university users. MOSIS has worked with over two dozen fabrication vendors and a couple of hundred processes.
ISI Operations Manager Kathleen Fry manages a ukelele
"Before César came to ISI he worked at JPL and other firms including Raytheon in the Boston area - his first job. After Raytheon, he worked for Hoffman Electronics in Chicago for six years before taking a job with Continental Devices here in sunny Southern California. In 1971, he founded Regulus Semiconductor, then worked for Micro Semiconductor for five years before joining JPL. While at JPL, he received his master's degree in applied mathematics from Claremont Graduate University (CGU). His undergraduate degree is in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan. He also received the CGU Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2005.
"In addition to our paid work for commercial, government and university users César has helped provide universities with free fabrication via the MOSIS Education Program (MEP). The MEP has provided fabrication not only for educational use but also for unfunded research. César formed the MOSIS Advisory Committee for Education, working with academia and industry to provide university access to a variety of technologies. The MEP supports academic institutions large and small across the US.
"One project of special interest is an artificial retina. Over 14 million people worldwide suffer from blindness due to age related
César's lunch. Click on the image for a slide show.
"In addition, César has been involved with the Claremont Math Clinic for a number of years, resulting in more than 20 published papers, just in the last few years. These have been in the area of semiconductor modeling and leverage MOSIS' access to IC test structures. The collaboration with Claremont has helped numerous mathematics graduate students gain valuable experience in dealing with real world complex problem solving that has lead to improving MOS device modeling."