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Apple expanding Israel R&D center with SoC engineer openings

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New job postings for System-on-a-Chip engineers in Israel hint at the company's continued endeavors to expand its first international R&D facility.

AppleInsider discovered on Friday a pair of listings (1, 2) on Apple's job board for "SoC Backend Physical Design Engineers" in the Haifa and Herzliya Pituah regions of Israel. The positions' key activities entail "physical implementation of a complete SoC from net list to tape-out," floor-planning, clock and power distribution, power and noise analysis, layout verification and timing sign-off.

Including the two new openings, the Cupertino, Calif., company is currently has listed on its website a total of seven positions in Israel. All of the roles are engineering jobs, with five located in Herzliya Pituah and two in Haifa.

Apple's hiring efforts are presumably to bulk up the staff at both an R&D center that it has built in the country and the team from Anobit, a flash company that it recently acquired. Given that Anobit, which reportedly changed its name to HDC, is based in Herzliya, Apple's five engineering openings there would likely join that team. According to his LinkedIn profile, Anobit co-founder Ariel Maislos has served as "Senior Director, HDC" at Apple since January 2012.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in January during a quarterly earnings conference call that Anobit has "fantastic technical talent." "We're really fortunate to have them join us," he added. Anobit is believed to be Cook's first acquisition as CEO.

Meanwhile, industry veteran Aharon Aharon is heading up Apple's research efforts in Haifa. Aharon's own LinkedIn profile indicates that he has been working for Apple since last November on VLSI, or Very Large Scale Initiatives. Notably, Apple's most-recent openings for SoC engineers require five plus years of experience in "physical design of large scale SoC."

Aharon is likely working closely with Apple VP of VLSI Johny Srouji, who is based in Cupertino, Calif., but studied in Israel and formerly worked as a senior manager at Intel's Israel Design Center.

Reports that Apple was planning a semiconductor development in Israel first emerged last December. The Haifa-based center, which is believed to specialize in hardware testing and verification of semiconductors, was reportedly set to open in February. In late April, local news outlets claimed Apple would soon kick off a "major hiring campaign" for its Haifa facility.

Market research estimates suggest that Apple has become the world's largest buyer of semiconductors. One recent analysis projects the company will spend $27 billion on chips this year alone.