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Altera Corp. said Wednesday that Elisha Finney, the chief financial officer of Varian Medical Systems Inc., has joined the company's board of directors.

John Daane, Altera's CEO, said in a statement that Finney's "experience in finance and risk management is a strong addition to Altera as we enter a new era of programmable solutions."

San Jose-based Altera makes semiconductors such as field-programmable gate array chips that can be programmed to perform different functions after they've been manufactured. That's different than, say, the central processor inside a standard personal computer, which has a predetermined function.

Palo Alto-based Varian makes X-ray technology and other medical technologies and uses programmable chips in its products.

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