by Truls Gjestland
A number of (still relatively small) companies have been established as a result of research activities at SINTEF DELAB. These are companies manufacturing products based on high tech electronics or advanced information technology. There are also companies that provied IT services, and companies that produce electronic components or supply development services within information technology.
The ASICs design company Nordic VLSI is a good example of the spin-off policy of SINTEF DELAB.
A large research program was launched by the Norwegian Research Council in the early nineteen eighties in order to establish a foundation for the use of large scale integration in Norwegian electronic industry. By 1983 this technology was well established and a major part of the research group at The Norwegian Institute of Technology (NTH) and SINTEF DELAB that had been involved in this project, formed their own company, Nordic VLSI.
Nordic VLSI, presently a company in the Tandberg Group, designs, develops and sells application specific integrated circuits (ASICs). They specialize in cost-effective total-integration solutions for both low and high volume production.
So far Nordic VLSI has designed more than 125 ASICs and the they boast one of the highest "right-first-time scores" in the business. Their design capabilities comprise: digital, analog and mixed-signal RF design, CMOS/BiCMOS/Bipolar and GaAs technologies, automatic, semi-automatic and manual design/layout, and control software design.
For years there has been a tight connection between Nordic VLSI and SINTEF DELAB. Employees at Nordic hold teaching positions at NTH, and SINTEF uses Nordic VLSI as their own design-house when an R&D project calls for a special electronic integrated circuit design. Most of the company's 33 employees (all with a Ph.D. or M.Sc in electronic engineering) have been head-hunted from the micro electronics design group at NTH and SINTEF DELAB.
Nordic VLSI has specialized in "impossible projects no one else can manage ", and has gained a considerable system design experience in the field of: pay-TV decoders (MAC and PAL systems), pay-TV specification and software implementation, analog and digital/analog mixed-mode systems, and custom microprocessors and data peripherials.
Nordic VLSI has carried out design projects for a number of Norwegian and foreign companies. They have remained a foundry independent design house, but cooperate very closely with several semiconductor manufacturers world wide.
In order to be able to offer cost effective prototyping and small volume production, Nordic VLSI has joined the ESPRIT project ChipShop.