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Introduction to VLSI

Design
Amit Kumar Mishra
ECE Department
IIT Guwahati

Tale of two queries!


Y R U here?
Y M I here?

Landmarks
Moores axiom
Some more funda
Free CAD tool
Parting notes

Moores Law
Gordon Moore: co-founder of Intel
Predicted that the number of transistors
per chip would grow exponentially (double
every 18 months)
Exponential improvement in technology is
a natural trend:

e.g.

Steam Engines - Dynamo - Automobile

Moores
Law
Transistors
Microprocessors

10M
1M

80386
68020
68000

100K
10K
1K

PPC603
Pentium
80486
Pentium Pro
PPC601
MIPS R4000
68040

8086
4004

8080

10x/6years
10x/6years

100
10
1
1975

1980

1985

1990

1995
[Keutzer]

IC Products

Processors

Memory chips

Mobile communication,
audio/video processing

Programmable

RAM, ROM, EEPROM

Analog

CPU, DSP, Controllers

PLA, FPGA

Embedded systems
Used in cars, factories
Network cards

System-on-chip (SoC)
Images: amazon.com

IC Product Market Shares

Source: Electronic Business

Example: Intel Processor Sizes


Silicon Process 1.5
Technology

1.0

0.8

0.6

Intel386TM DX
Processor
Intel486TM DX
Processor
Pentium Processor

Pentium Pro &


Pentium II Processors
Source: http://www.intel.com/

0.35 0.25

Heterogeneity on Chip

Greater diversity of onchip elements


Processors
Software

Heterogeneity

Memory
Analog

More
Moretransistors
transistorsdoing
doingdifferent
differentthings!
things!

[Keutzer]

Stronger Market Pressures


Decreasing design window
Less tolerance for design
revisions

Time-to-market

Exponentially
Exponentiallymore
morecomplex,
complex, greater
greaterdesign
design
risk,
risk, greater
greatervariety,
variety,and
and aasmaller
smallerdesign
design
window!
window!

[Keutzer]

VLSI Design Styles


Full Custom
Application-Specific Integrated Circuit
(ASIC)
Programmable Logic (PLD, FPGA)
System-on-a-Chip

Full Custom Design

Each circuit element carefully handcrafted


Huge design effort
High Design & NRE Costs / Low Unit Cost
High Performance
Typically used for high-volume applications

ASIC

Constrained design using pre-designed (and


sometimes pre-manufactured) components
Also called semi-custom design
CAD tools greatly reduce design effort
Low Design Cost / High NRE Cost / Med. Unit
Cost
Medium Performance

Programmable Logic (FPGA)

Pre-manufactured components with


programmable interconnect
CAD tools greatly reduce design effort
Low Design Cost / Low NRE Cost / High Unit
Cost
Lower Performance

System-on-chip (SOC)

Idea: combine several large blocks


Predesigned

custom cores (e.g., microcontroller) intellectual property (IP)


ASIC logic for special-purpose hardware
Programmable Logic (PLD, FPGA)
Analog

Open issues
Keeping

design cost low


Verifying correctness of design

The Inverted Pyramid


Electronic Systems > $1 Trillion

Semiconductor > $220 B

CAD $3 B

[Keutzer]

Where is the money?

Gaps to be filled:
System-semiconductor

gap
Semiconductor-CAD gap

A free CAD flow for all who care!


Alliance CAD tools
"Architecture des Systmes intgrs et
Micro lectronique" department of LIP6
875 000 Transistor design done
Limit is your processor power and your
design abilities!

Scenario in India???
HUGE outsourcing
Loads of startups (WHY?)
VLSI design is nowhere a single nation job
Fabrication labs (fabs) in USA getting sold
out
India getting 4 fabs by next year!

Thank You
Best of Luck for End-Sems and Internships