IEEE Fellow Biswadip “Bobby” Mitra may be hard to reach right now, and for good reason: He just moved halfway around the world to take on his new position as worldwide director of industrial systems for Texas Instruments (TI), a global semiconductor manufacturer with headquarters in Dallas. Mitra took charge as managing director of TI India in 2001 and was promoted to president and managing director in 2009. Now in Dallas, he will oversee a global marketing, engineering, and applications team that focuses primarily on analog and embedded processing technologies for industrial systems.
Mitra has spent his entire 27-year career with TI, in part helping to grow its semiconductor research and development and sales and marketing operations in India, and forming partnerships with universities.
“Texas Instruments has always encouraged interaction among its worldwide centers, so the transition now has been pretty seamless,” Mitra says. “I’m looking forward to building on my previous role and adding to it as I take on this global opportunity.”
BUILDING A FOUNDATION
Mitra joined TI in 1986 as a software engineer at the company’s then new office in Bangalore, India. “We started with a core team, and our goal was to build differentiated semiconductor products for our customers worldwide that would yield important results over time,” he says. “Semiconductor R&D was in its infancy in India in the mid-1980s, and Texas Instruments played a pivotal role in expanding it.”
Over the years, the R&D center in Bangalore has grown and its engineers have played a role in the development of many new TI products. Engineers in India focus on several applications of semiconductor technology, including low-power and high-performance circuits, microcontrollers, and analog integrated circuits. TI also has sales and application support operations in Bangalore and seven other locations across India.
“We work closely with our customers to understand their system requirements and how our products can meet their specifications,” he says. Mitra points to his experience working directly with customers as well as his educational background in both technology and management, which he says helped prepare him to take on leadership responsibilities. He received a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering and a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering, both from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, in 1985 and 1993. Mitra also earned a master’s degree in business administration in 2000 from the University of Texas, Austin.
In 1996 he transferred to TI’s Dallas office and was named director of development for wireless communication products. He led the team that developed TI's ultra-low-power digital signal processors, which hit the market in 2000. The devices are used to measure, filter, and/or compress continuous, real-world analog signals. One such processor, the TMS320C55x, was named “Greatest Innovation of the Past 15 Years” by EDN Network in 2005. The latest version, which dissipates only 0.15 milliwatts, can be found in a number of devices, including noise-canceling headphones and other portable devices.
GROWING THE INDUSTRY
In 2009 Mitra was promoted to president and managing director of TI India, a position in which he led all of TI’s sales and marketing activities as well as R&D throughout the country. He also became involved with several external organizations, including serving as president of the VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) Society of India and chair of the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association. He was also elected a Fellow of the IEEE and a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineers, and was recognized as one of the top three R&D visionaries of India by Zinnov, a leading management consulting company in Bangalore. This year, the Electronics Industries Association of India and Electronics for You jointly presented him with the Special Jury Award, the highest individual recognition awarded by the two organizations, for his significant contributions to the development of the electronics industry in India.
Under his direction, TI India formed partnerships with several universities. The company provides mentors and learning materials, such as application notes, to the schools’ engineering students and faculty. TI India also awards internships to students and supports student research projects related to analog and embedded processing systems.
For Mitra, interacting with engineering students is one of the most satisfying parts of his job. “It is absolutely fascinating to see thousands of bright young students developing extremely innovative electronic systems using our analog and embedded processing chips,” he says. “I am confident that, armed with these important skills, many of them will go on to become the best and brightest in the semiconductor and electronics engineering fields.”
Mitra will continue to stay involved in TI’s activities on the other side of the world in his new additional role as chairman of TI India.