Finnish system-on-chip design gets stronger as Tampere’s SoC Hub co-creators prepare to unveil a new system-on-chip tapeout

The SoC Hub ecosystem initiative, launched last year to focus on system-on-chip design, is about to cross its first finish line. The first chip tape-out will soon be completed as the result of co-creation between businesses and the University, contributing to Europe’s technological independence in chip technology. At the same time, Tampere University strengthens its position as the leading system-on-chip design educator in Finland.

Tampere has a long history as a base for system-on-chip design in Finland. This expertise has been further boosted by the System-on-Chip Hub project, which was launched last year and is coordinated by Tampere University and Nokia.

The project has worked hard to develop collaboration between the University and businesses while investing heavily in system-on-chip skills education. The work of the SoC Hub aims to strengthen Europe’s technological independence and is also linked to the recently announced Chips Act of the European Union.

“System-on-chip design requires multidisciplinary skills. In Finland, Tampere University has been the leading educator of digital designers for a long time. We anticipated the growing need and have already deepened our system-on-chip training,” says Jyrki Vuorinen, Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences.

Computing Sciences at Tampere University is currently offering 750 starting places in Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programmes and the Unit’s the expertise is further strengthened by recruiting new expert staff.

The first chip tapeout will be completed at the end of the year

In the project funded by Business Finland, Tampere University and businesses are co-creating three system-on-chip tape-outs in three years. The first one will be completed at the end of this year, which also marks a significant milestone on the global scale.

“Not only the chip development itself but also creating the essential infrastructure and contractual environment have been accomplished at a very fast pace for the industry standard and the size of the project. This achievement would have been impossible without the close cooperation of top experts in the field,” says Professor Timo Hämäläinen, Director of the Computing Sciences Unit.

The first tapeout, which has required excellent integration skills, will be the most advanced one made in Finland in a collaborative research project thus far. The chip is manufactured using a new 22 nanometre semiconductor technology with the Belgian IMEC research institute acting as a partner.

“Chip development on this scale, carried out jointly by a university and businesses, has never been done in Finland before. It is great to see how the cooperation has paid off as we are getting ready to achieve our first concrete goal,” Hämäläinen continues.


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