Linköping University, 32 years ago …

Time for some revival! In my manager’s office I found a copy of an old internal magazine (Lite Nytt) for the institute of technology within the University. On the front page we find Prof. Emeritus Lars Wanhammar and Prof. Björn Sikström. The LSI design center was just recently started. Notice that there is no “V” in LSI.

LiteNytt_1981_A

I am not going to translate all of the contents, but I will add some highlights. Professor Lawson (credited with the 1964 invention of the pointer) is interviewed among others. They refer to “supercomputers of today” performing Megaflops. It is hard for Sweden to compete, we are way behind. Instead we can focus on “special-purpose computers” for special needs, such as hardware accelaration. The LSI design center was established to start this activitiy.

LiteNytt_1981_B

Lars and Björn are designing a wave-digital filter for general purpose applications. As mentioned in the interview, they are waiting for the chip coming back. Interestingly, in the paper the following is mentioned: “expertisen är rörande enig om att vi bara är i början av en utveckling som kommer att gå än snabbare”, i.e., “the expertise agree that we are just in the beginning of an era that will move on even faster”.

LiteNytt_1981_C

As we see today too, the extreme costs are mentioned. Sums of 500 000 SEK is mentioned, which is perhaps 10x today, say 500 000 Euros. Back then the introduction of the first courses in LSI design, CAD, etc., is discussed too, as well as multi-project chips/wafers that can save money.

Btw, Lars’ and Björn’s chip worked very well. It was a filter with 12- and 8-bit shift accumulators for bit-serial multipliers and distributed arithmetic. Read more interesting stuff at:

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