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“Finland is not Scandinavia” was one of the first statements I heard, when I landed in Norway.
“OK, let's consider it as a Nordic country”, I said, trying to resolve the situation.
“Nordic is fine”.
So Denmark, Sweden and Norway are Scandinavian, while Finland is not. But all these countries have great microelectronics companies, just think of such mobile giants like Ericsson or Nokia. Well, the giants got much smaller by now, so the region is searching for new areas of growth, the ideas should come from universities. Cadence Academic Network has great connections to several universities in the region and this article introduces some of them.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim is the only Technical University in Norway. Around 22.000 students are studying here all kind of technical and scientific studies and Department of Electronics and Telecommunications are diligent Cadence users. By the way, Trondheim's most famous son is Leif Ericsson who started his journey to North America from here, so the thirst for adventure and discoveries are in the genes of Norwegians.
Norway’s microelectronics industry is truly thriving. Companies like Nordic Semi, Atmel Norway, Novelda and others. ARM in Trondheim is designing its Mali GPU, so the students have best job opportunities after finishing their studies. One of the most interesting IoT startup companies, Disruptive Technologies (nomen est omen) is located in Norway and many of its employees are coming from NTNU.
The capital of Sweden is Stockholm and its technology heart beats in Kista. Coming to Kista for the first time feels very familiar for somebody who knows Silicon Valley, the neon logos of the companies are the same, just the architecture is more Nordic. Virtually all technology companies who have an office in Sweden, have it in Kista (also Cadence). Therefore it is quite logical that the Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan or KTH Royal Institute of Technology has a branch also, in between all these high-tech companies. KTH is the largest Swedish Technical University and it is also Cadence Academic Network lead institution for Wireless Radio and RF Design Methodology.
But beyond that, one of the most interesting areas pf research is about 3D-chips, where an inverter can have n- and p-mos transistors on two different substrates. Professor Ana Rusu and her team are using Cadence software like Quantus in order to model parasitic effects, so one can imagine all the tricks which are required to adjust our tools to derive correct results, since they were not written for 3D-chips.
Lund University is in very south of Sweden. The Department of Electrical and Information Technology with Professor Joachim Rodrigues is Cadence Academic Network Lead Institution for Low-Power Methodology and Digital Design Architecture. Lund was the headquarters of Ericsson Mobile Platforms, and as a result cooperation between Lund University, Ericsson and other industrial partners like ST Microelectronics still exist, such as SoS. Cadence is also part of SoS and contributes its software and services to the consortium. The research in Lund is focused on ultra-low-power microelectronics, especially memories and on next generation wireless networks (MIMO antenna arrays, 5G).
Between Stockholm and Lund there is Linköping (pronounced Linshopin), with yet another great university with large technology department. Compared to the very focused Lund, Linköping’s professors have wide range of topics they want to address, starting with computer vision to energy harvesting and data converters, therefore they have broad range of opportunities, with which companies they can collaborate. Students of microelectronics have the possibility to design, tapeout and measure their own chip, for which they are using Cadence tools.
My last trip leads me to Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in Finland. Though Tampere is not quite correct, since the university is in Hervanta, which is a suburb of Tampere. Tampere is close to the lake Villilänsalmi, and on the other side of the lake there is a city called Nokia, where the most famous Finnish company was founded 1865. With the downfall of Nokia Mobile the city and the university are facing tough times. Lot of experienced PCB engineers lost their jobs, so they have to be re-educated and why not in chip design? But hope is in sight. Other microelectronic companies, who are engaging in automotive and IoT are renting space at the campus in order to get access to the researchers at the university. A new Kampusareena has been built in order to bring together companies, researchers, students and alumni. So I’m sure TUT and Tampere will have a great future and since TUT is contributor of Cadence Academic Network we will accompany TUT on this road.