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Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse Established

July 23, 1999

Calling it one of the most important economic development activities of his administration, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge recently announced the creation of the "Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse" -- a public/private partnership intended to provide support, infrastructure, and the expertise needed to accelerate the development and re-use of system-on-a-chip (SOC) technology.

The Greenhouse — a partnership of three Pittsburgh universities, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, the Commonwealth, and three international corporations — is intended to make southwestern Pennsylvania a worldwide leader in the development of SOC technology.

Sony Corporation, Oki Electric Industry, and Cadence Design Systems will work with the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse to help develop next-generation digital video and digital networking. IBM will help to design and operate an e-business network for Greenhouse. The Greenhouse will work to attract the involvement of other companies.

Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Pennsylvania State University will provide undergraduate and advanced degree, as well as advanced-education, programs in SOC design. Graduates of those degree programs will help to make the next-generation chips. The universities already graduate 1,100 students each year in the electrical engineering or computer science fields.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has provided $3.2 million to enable local economic development agencies in the area and the universities to design the Greenhouse initiative. Governor Ridge has committed an additional $10 million over three years, to be distributed based on the initiative's success in creating a projected 1,500 chip-design jobs in the region over the next three years.

As a digital video and digital networking design cluster, the Greenhouse will include five main components:

  • Electronic Design Technology Development Program, the initiative's key building block, will provide research funds, expertise, and project management to facilitate breakthroughs in digital video and digital networks;
  • Electronic Design Education Program will develop the courseware and training modules for the retraining of existing electronic design engineers, as well as create a joint degree program among the three participating universities;
  • Intellectual Property Exchange Program will develop the standards and processes to exchange IP, and also develop marketing plans and alliances with similar R&D groups around the world;
  • Electronics Infusion Program, a new technology concept centered on sending highly specialized teams into medium- and large-sized companies to identify specific opportunities for the use of electronics to add value to their existing products; and
  • Complex Support Program will provide program and project management; software and hardware tools; venture capital; and, potentially, a common facility to be used by Greenhouse participants.

To help build local companies in digital technologies and Internet-based business, Governor Ridge also announced that Redleaf Venture Management, an early stage Internet-oriented venture capital fund based in Saratoga California, will open its Atlantic headquarters in Pittsburgh this September. The state provided Redleaf a $200,000 Opportunity Grant to assist in opening the office.

To learn more, visit the Greenhouse webpage http://www.digitalgreenhouse.com