The Academic Entrepreneur

Adjunct Professor Brad Quinton launches his second successful start-up, Invionics

There are at least two moments in the course of a project an engineer savours. First, there is the breakthrough. Later, comes that moment when the carefully developed design is put to use in the real world. The first moment tends to be a quiet affair, in a lab or at a desk behind a computer screen, but the second needs a community outside of the laboratory to make it happen. Professors that bridge these two moments and two working environments bring important innovations developed in UBC labs to the public and also help students find their place in the world after they graduate.

Dr. Brad Quinton is one of ECE’s faculty members who bridges the academy and industry. His area of expertise is integrated circuit (IC) design, and electronics design automation (EDA) tools. ICs, commonly called “chips”, can have several billion transistors and other components in a single square centimeter. Semiconductor companies are always looking for new and innovative design tools to create these highly integrated chips. Dr. Quinton helps create IC designs as well as EDA tools; and critically, he also creates the companies that bring the new tools and technologies to market.

While working on his PhD at UBC, Dr. Quinton began developing an innovative embedded instrumentation and chip validation technology. In 2009, he co-founded Veridae Systems Inc. with ECE Professor Dr. Steve Wilton who had been his graduate supervisor. The company’s software brought complex systems and integrated circuits through the cycle of prototype to production. Veridae was acquired by Tektronix in 2011 and Dr. Quinton then led Tektronix’s Embedded Instruments Group, as Chief Architect. Veridae’s flagship product, Certus, was then further developed at Mentor Graphics, one of the world’s leading EDA companies. Certus is now used by chip design companies around the world.

Continuing this tradition of bringing new products to market, his new company, Invionics Inc. makes an EDA development platform, Invio(TM), that allows chipmakers to easily create new internal design tools, and easily integrate them into their overall design flow. The platform helps developers create the competitive designs they are looking for to get an edge in the IC marketplace.

As an Adjunct Professor with ECE Dr. Quinton also helps our fourth year students prepare for their careers by teach VLSI design courses and helps graduate students toward getting the most impact from their own research.

“I like to make sure my students get access to industry-quality tools and techniques. In fact, I’m currently helping to re-vamp graduate level VLSI course to push more of the tools and flows used in industry into the curriculum, while at the same time giving graduate students exposure to the most critical problems in VLSI design today. I believe providing students with the state-of-the-art view helps to create future academic entrepreneurs.”

Find out more:

EDA innovator helps companies, and students, succeed, CMC Microsystems

Brad Quinton