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VLSI Circuit Design Methodology Demystified: A Conceptual Taxonomy



VLSI Circuit Design Methodology Demystified: A Conceptual Taxonomy

Liming Xiu

ISBN: 978-0-470-19910-7 December 2007 Wiley-IEEE Press 200 Pages

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This book was written to arm engineers qualified and knowledgeable in the area of VLSI circuits with the essential knowledge they need to get into this exciting field and to help those already in it achieve a higher level of proficiency. Few people truly understand how a large chip is developed, but an understanding of the whole process is necessary to appreciate the importance of each part of it and to understand the process from concept to silicon. It will teach readers how to become better engineers through a practical approach of diagnosing and attacking real-world problems.

Foreword xi
Richard Templeton

Foreword xiii
Hans Stork

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xvii


1. What is a chip? 1

2. What are the requirements of a successful chip design? 3

3. What are the challenges in today’s very deep submicron (VDSM), multimillion gate designs? 4

4. What major process technologies are used in today’s design environment? 5

5. What are the goals of new chip design? 8

6. What are the major approaches of today’s very large scale integration (VLSI) circuit design practices? 9

7. What is standard cell-based, application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design methodology? 11

8. What is the system-on-chip (SoC) approach? 12

9. What are the driving forces behind the SoC trend? 15

10. What are the major tasks in developing a SoC chip from concept to silicon? 15

11. What are the major costs of developing a chip? 16


12. What are the major process steps in building MOSFET transistors? 17

13. What are the two types of MOSFET transistors? 19

14. What are base layers and metal layers? 20

15. What are wafers and dies? 24

16. What is semiconductor lithography? 28

17. What is a package? 33


18. What is the role of functional verification in the IC design process? 41

19. What are some of the design integrity issues? 44

20. What is design for testability? 46

21. Why is reducing the chip’s power consumption so important? 48

22. What are some of the challenges in chip packaging? 49

23. What are the advantages of design reuse? 50

24. What is hardware/software co-design? 51

25. Why is the clock so important? 54

26. What is the leakage current problem? 57

27. What is design for manufacturability? 60

28. What is chip reliability? 62

29. What is analog integration in the digital environment? 65

30. What is the role of EDA tools in IC design? 67

31. What is the role of the embedded processor in the SoC environment? 69


32. What are the major tasks and personnel required in a chip design project? 73

33. What are the major steps in ASIC chip construction? 74

34. What is the ASIC design flow? 75

35. What are the two major aspects of ASIC design flow? 77

36. What are the characteristics of good design flow? 80

37. What is the role of market research in an ASIC project? 81

38. What is the optimal solution of an ASIC project? 82

39. What is system-level study of a project? 84

40. What are the approaches for verifying design at the system level? 85

41. What is register-transfer-level (RTL) system-level description? 86

42. What are methods of verifying design at the register-transfer-level? 87

43. What is a test bench? 88

44. What is code coverage? 89

45. What is functional coverage? 89

46. What is bug rate convergence? 90

47. What is design planning? 91

48. What are hard macro and soft macro? 92

49. What is hardware description language (HDL)? 92

50. What is register-transfer-level (RTL) description of hardware? 93

51. What is standard cell? What are the differences among standard cell, gate-array, and sea-of-gate approaches? 94

52. What is an ASIC library? 103

53. What is logic synthesis? 105

54. What are the optimization targets of logic synthesis? 106

55. What is schematic or netlist? 107

56. What is the gate count of a design? 111

57. What is the purpose of test insertion during logic synthesis? 111

58. What is the most commonly used model in VLSI circuit testing? 112

59. What are controllability and observability in a digital circuit? 114

60. What is a testable circuit? 115

61. What is the aim of scan insertion? 116

62. What is fault coverage? What is defect part per million (DPPM)? 117

63. Why is design for testability important for a product’s financial success? 119

64. What is chip power usage analysis? 120

65. What are the major components of CMOS power consumption? 121

66. What is power optimization? 123

67. What is VLSI physical design? 123

68. What are the problems that make VLSI physical design so challenging? 124

69. What is floorplanning? 128

70. What is the placement process? 131

71. What is the routing process? 133

72. What is a power network? 135

73. What is clock distribution? 139

74. What are the key requirements for constructing a clock tree? 143

75. What is the difference between time skew and length skew in a clock tree? 145

76. What is scan chain? 149

77. What is scan chain reordering? 151

78. What is parasitic extraction? 152

79. What is delay calculation? 155

80. What is back annotation? 156

81. What kind of signal integrity problems do place and route tools handle? 156

82. What is cross-talk delay? 157

83. What is cross-talk noise? 158

84. What is IR drop? 159

85. What are the major netlist formats for design representation? 162

86. What is gate-level logic verification before tapeout? 162

87. What is equivalence check? 163

88. What is timing verification? 164

89. What is design constraint? 165

90. What is static timing analysis (STA)? 165

91. What is simulation approach on timing verification? 169

92. What is the logical-effort-based timing closure approach? 173

93. What is physical verification? 178

94. What are design rule check (DRC), design verification (DV), and geometry verification (GV)? 179

95. What is schematic verification (SV) or layout versus schematic (LVS)? 181

96. What is automatic test pattern generation (ATPG)? 182

97. What is tapeout? 184

98. What is yield? 184

99. What are the qualities of a good IC implementation designer? 187

Conclusion 189

Acronyms 191

Bibliography 195

Index 199