VLSI Technology

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VLSI Technology, Inc was a company which designed and manufactured custom and semi-custom IC. The company was based in Silicon Valley, with headquarters at 1109 McKay Drive in San Jose, California. Along with LSI Logic, VLSI Technology defined the leading edge of the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) business, which accelerated the push of powerful embedded systems into affordable products.

The company was founded in 1979 by a trio from Fairchild Semiconductor by way of Synertek - Jack Balletto, Dan Floyd, Gunnar Wetlesen - and by Doug Fairbairn of Xerox PARC and Lambda (later VLSI Design) magazine.

Alfred J. Stein became the CEO of the company in 1982. Subsequently VLSI built its first fab in San Jose; eventually a second fab was built in San Antonio, Texas. VLSI had its initial public offering in 1983, and was listed on the stock market as (). The company was later acquired by Philips and survives to this day as part of NXP Semiconductors.

Advanced tools for VLSI design

The original business plan was to be a contract wafer fabrication company, but the venture investors wanted the company to develop IC design tools to help fill the foundry.

Thanks to its Caltech and UC Berkeley students, VLSI was an important pioneer in the electronic design automation industry. It offered a sophisticated package of tools, originally based on the 'lambda-based' design style advocated by Carver Mead and Lynn Conway.

VLSI became an early vendor of standard cell (cell-based...
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