Innovators in Electronic Design - Women in Science & Engineering: Monia Chiavacci, SiFive

Dec. 9, 2022
In 2000, Monia started Yogitech in Italy to bring advanced integrated electronics closer to people's lives, and in 2022 she joined SiFive to develop FuSa technology based on the RISC-V architecture. Today Monia is recognized as a global expert in FuSa.

This article is part of the Innovators 2023 issue.

Monia Chiavacci has had an illustrious career path with numerous feathers in her cap. Throughout her career, Monia has paved the way for women in tech, from graduating “cum laude” from a technical institute dominated by male students, to being one of only a few female founders of a semiconductor company.

In 2000, Monia started the pioneering company Yogitech in Italy with the vision of bringing advanced and highly reliable integrated electronics closer to people's lives. Yogitech became the “one-stop shop” for functional safety (FuSa) applied to a systems-on-chips (SoCs). At the time, the trend in the automotive industry was automating driving functions, and cost pressures forced high integration, which required an innovative approach to bringing FuSa within integrated circuits.

Monia and Yogitech invented a new methodology to handle FuSa inside integrated circuits. Based on this methodology, Yogitech developed a portfolio of hardware and software IP. This IP implemented diagnostic circuits to prevent or detect failures. Monia and her team also built a suite of tools to perform the required failure-mode analysis and related verification.

In 2022, Monia joined SiFive to develop state-of-the-art FuSa technology based on the RISC-V architecture. At SiFive, she established the FuSa methodology and design principles from scratch and helped architect FuSa-enabled IPs, including CPU cores and other SoC elements. This has already resulted in key customer wins for SiFive in the automotive market.

Today, Monia is recognized as one of the world’s experts in FuSa. She contributed to key areas in the ISO 26262 FuSa standard, which is considered the gold standard for design principles of automotive safety. On top of that, she contributed to a related standard called IEC 61508 for electronic components. She is the author of many technical papers and has five patents.

Monia has taken charge of the FuSa technology and methodology in SiFive. She established the FuSa methodology for RISC-V IP within SiFive. In addition, she helped win three major automotive customers within a short span of half a year. Her business leadership enables both SiFive’s customers and design teams to align and focus on the key aspects of FuSa technology delivery.

Monia has mentored a whole new generation of FuSa experts in and outside of Italy and established Pisa as the global center of excellence for FuSa technology. While she has mentored both men and women throughout her career, Monia has paid special attention to helping guide other women in her field. She has become a strong advocate for women on her teams and routinely offers career advice to help them succeed.

In addition to helping out her colleagues, Monia is sought out regularly by women from around the world who are seeking advice on technical career paths and leadership. She is proud to help make a difference in these women’s careers.

Monia’s pioneering technology has been adopted by at least 20 customers and is used in over 10 million cars. She has truly ushered in a new era of technological innovation in Italy. 

Read more articles in the Innovators 2023 issue.


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