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Cluster Building in the Eastern Townships

Bromont is an amazing place. It’s so over-the-top bucolic it’s hard to spot the dark, satanic mills of industry anywhere in the landscape. But, behind the ski hills, past the equestrian parks and golf courses, among the wineries and cideries, big business is happening here, the ICT business.

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Claude Jean, General Manager, DALSA Claude Jean, General Manager, DALSA

Bromont Innovation Centre Signals Significant Growth

The September 1st announcement of a $218.5-million investment in a microelectronics innovation centre in Bromont, Quebec, is a major turning point for the industry in North America, according to founding partner and co-funder DALSA Semiconductors. “The northeast is becoming a very serious cluster for microelectronics,” says DALSA General Manager Claude Jean, and the new innovation centre has the potential to create spinoff benefits and attract additional companies beyond DALSA and co-founder IBM Bromont. In addition to DALSA, IBM and other equipment suppliers, who are providing $40.6 million toward the centre, the Government of Canada is contributing $82.95 million and the Quebec government $94.9 million. The centre will be part of the University of Sherbrooke, located at Technoparc Bromont, southeast of Montreal.

Sally Daub, President and CEO, ViXS Systems Inc. Sally Daub, President and CEO, ViXS Systems

Picture This: ViXS rides the digital video boom

With video applications booming across multiple platforms, Toronto-based ViXS Systems Inc. could not be in a better place. Its advanced system-on-a-chip semiconductors, software solutions and hardware reference designs are helping to power some of the most-popular brands of digital TVs, DVDs personal video recorders and PCs.

What is it like being a relatively small, Canadian-based, fabless semiconductor company in such a hot market? President and CEO Sally Daub, a ViXS co-founder, provided some insight.

Ben Bar-Haim, General Manager, AMD Canada Ben Bar-Haim, General Manager, AMD Canada

Meet ITAC Director Ben Bar-Haim

Like many companies, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was hit hard by declining sales in 2008. Demand for PCs and servers was sharply lower. While the recession lingers and revenue losses continue, 2009 will go down as a banner year for AMD. In March, it partnered with Advanced Technology Investment Company—an Abu Dhabi government venture—to create GlobalFoundries, which, in mid-summer, announced the creation of a US$4.2-billion microprocessor manufacturing facility near Saratoga Lake, New York. In September, AMD launched VISION Technology, which “breaks the model in how PC benefits are communicated” to consumers by rating computers by what they can do rather than by processing speed. In addition, AMD continued to focus on its Fusion technology, which it predicts will represent the next generation of silicon chips.

ITAC spoke to Ben Bar-Haim, General Manager, AMD Canada, about the company’s new positioning.


Winning Formulas For Trying Times

ITAC’s 15th National Executive Forum on Microelectronics will examine the challenge of steering through choppy financial waters.

“Winning in Global Markets in Adverse Times,” which will be held October 14 and 15 at Ottawa’s Crowne Plaza Hotel, features an outstanding lineup of leaders from Canada’s semiconductor industry. The program provides an opportunity to look at the trials and tribulations of today’s volatile markets, including the acquisitions of significant Canadian companies ATI and Tundra Semiconductor, and view them in a broader context of historical norms, from which valuable lessons can be learned.