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NTF 2008

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NTF 2008, the Nordic Test Forum conference, was held in Tallinn, Estonia on 25-26 November, 2008. The venue was the recently opened and appropriately named Nordic Hotel Forum, situated in the city centre, close to the historic Old Town walls.

Bill Ecklow

Heavy snow on the Sunday and Monday preceding the event resulted in many of the delegates suffering delayed flights, in some cases as much as 8 or 9 hours. Only four people made it to the NTF General Assembly on Monday evening. Bill Ecklow (Cisco Systems, right) in his keynote address "How do we tie chip, board and system test together into a single, seamless test process?" claimed that his experience of travelling to the conference had given him a new meaning for "DfT" - Delayed Flights to Tallinn!


Despite the vagaries of the weather and uncertainties brought about by the economic climate, a little over 60 people attended, exceeding the expectations of the organisers, with a good number having travelled from outside the Nordic/Baltic region, either as presenters, exhibitors or simply to attend. A mini-exhibition provided interest during breaks in the presentations.

The Invited Speaker, Professor Einar J. Aas of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, presented his paper, "Delay Testing - From the Ivory Tower to Tools in the Workshop": As logic speeds increase, test equipment is finding it harder to keep pace, and delay testing offers an alternative method for device manufacturers to test product.

Delay faults also featured in Raimund Ubar's paper, "Fault Modelling and Fault Diagnosis". This was a highly detailed analysis of common fault modelling and diagnosis techniques accompanied by an explanation of methods developed at Tallinn Univeristy of Technology to optimise the activities. However, with over 60 slides in the pack for a half-hour slot, the presentation was obviously a heavily abridged version of the full lecture.


The Panel Discussion which traditionally closes the first day, pondered the question "Will structural test bring an end to the need for functional test?". However, with all five panel members (l-r: Mike Smith, Teradyne; Dave Owen, Pickering Interfaces; Bernard Sutton, Creative Lighthouse; Knut Båtstoløkken, Kitron and Stig-Gunnar Jensen, Flextronics) agreeing that there would always be a place for both types of test, it looked like being a short-lived debate, so it was up to the audience (mainly in the shape of Bill Ecklow) to provide some (deliberately) contentious views and get some discussion going.

Olde Hansa

The Conference Dinner on Tuesday evening involved a short walk into the Old Town for a Medieval Banquet in the Olde Hansa restaurant. The theme and decor of the establishment is intended to recreate the home of a rich merchant of the Hanseatic League around 1400AD, at a time when Tallinn (then known as Reval) was a major trading port. The menu was also representative of the era with such items as smoked sauerkraut, spicy lentil sauce, wild boar, elk, and bear on offer. The completely candlelit surroundings added to the ambience, but created additional challenges for some of us spectacle wearers!

Leaving Olde Hansa

Curiously, on the return journey to the hotel almost everyone seemed to be far more confident walking on the packed snow than they had been just a few hours earlier. We were also quick to learn than walking in the middle of the street was generally safer than using the pavements, as the steep pitched roofs of the old town had a tendency to unexpectedly deposit large quantities of snow on unwary passers-by.

Conference - Day 2

A few people didn't seem to rise early enough for the first sessions of day two - It appears that a number of attendees had discovered that Nimeta Baar (The Bar with No Name) stayed open well beyond the hotel bar's midnight closing time.

Ian McIntosh, SELEX Galileo and the newly appointed chair of the SJTAG Working Group, presented an updated version of the "SJTAG Backgrounder" (copies of this may be downloaded from the SJTAG website: SJTAG Backgrounder).

Representing both Pickering Interfaces and the LXI Consortium, David Owen presented two papers: The first was an update on the evolution of LXI and the recently approved LXI 1.3 standard, while the second contrasted LXI and PXI switching systems.

Some of the later presentations of the day had to be hurriedly re-arranged to accomodate tight travel schedules of the presenters, and indeed Knut Båtstoløkken, the conference chair, also had to make his closing remarks brief for the same reason.

A full list of the presentations is given below:

Day One
Session [1] Presenter [2] Title
Keynote Address Bill Ecklow, Cisco Systems How do we tie chip, board and system test together into a single, "seamless" test process?
1 (Invited Speaker) Einar J Aas, NTNU Delay Testing – from the Ivory Tower to Tools in the Workshop
- - Exhibitor Presentations
2.1 Birger Schneider, microLEX Systems RF testing by a Software-Defined Test Platform for Current and Future Communications Systems
2.2 Birger Schneider, microLEX Systems Digital Audio Measurements Through Efficient FPGA Based Test Techniques
2.3 Bernard Sutton, Creative Lighthouse Eliminate Test
3.1 Raimund Ubar, Tallinn University of Technology Fault Modeling and Fault Diagnosis in Digital Systems
3.2 Luca Corli, Seica Reverse Engineering for Board Test
3.3 Mike Smith, Teradyne Integrating Boundary Scan and Analog Opens techniques
- - News from Conferences
- Panel Debate Will structural test finally wipe out the needs for functional test?
Day Two
Session Presenter Title
4.1 Rolf Østvik, AXXE Logistics PostgreSQL: The World's Most Advanced Open Source Database
4.2 Paul Attwell, CIMTEK UK Magellon Quality Lifecycle Management
4.3 Ian McIntosh, SELEX Galileo SJTAG Backgrounder
5.1 Jan Heiber, GOEPEL Electronic Boundary Scan and Emulation - Complement or Contradiction?
5.2 Magnus Björk, Elcoteq Tallinn Board testing of VDSL2 DSLAM using Boundary Scan
5.3 Francesca Gabbani, GEB-GROUP GEB techniques to fast BScan test Fixture development and manufacturing
6.1 David Owen, Pickering Interfaces LXI Standard Evolution
6.2 David Owen, Pickering Interfaces Comparing LXI and Modular Platforms for Implementation of High Density switching functions
6.3 Gary Clayton, MAC-Panel Modular Mass Interconnect Solutions for LXI
7.1 Musab Siddiq, Hapro Synthetic Instruments - an overview
7.2 Martin Viktil, SINTEF RFID – a tool in logistics. Deployment test
7.3 Dr Andre Egbert, Phoenix X-ray Advanced X-ray Inspection: ­µAXI and nanofocus Computed Tomography

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Scheduling of flights back to the UK meant that a few of us had the luxury of a little time to explore the old town on Thursday before heading to the airport, and despite the bombing of the city towards the end of World War II and their age, much of the historic buildings remain astonishingly intact.

NTF 2009 will be held in Stockholm, Sweden, in November.


  1. Published order: The order of some sessions was changed
  2. This was the presenter on the day, not necessarily the author of the paper