The course complements the skills of electronics design, with particular reference to the VLSI design themes and to low-power design issues. The student gains in-depth knowledge about different design options and related cost-benefit balances. The course gathers physical and technological elements with circuit design strategies, providing the student with tools for general understanding, not limited to specific contemporary technologies.
Applying knowledge and understanding
Knowledge acquired by the student is applied in a context of autonomous design, based on the use of professional design environments, largely diffused in industry environments.
At the end of the course, the student will be able to design VLSI digital systems of realistic complexity, by using suitable CAD tools for each step of the design flow.
Course contents summary
VLSI digital design components.
Low-power digital design.
CAD-based design flows.
IC manufacturing technologies (recall)
Constant electric field scaling: theory, effects, limits and generalization.
The technology perspective: ITRS roadmap
Analysis of energy consumption of a CMOS circuit
Activity coefficients of CMOS logic
Low-power strategies: dynamic power components
Static power sources.
Low-power strategies: static power components. Circuit-based and technology-based solutions.
Design-flow of a CMOS VLSI digital circuit
CAD tools supporting the design flow
Jan M. Rabaey, Rabaey, Anantha P. Chandrakasan, Borivoje Nikolić: “Digital Integrated Circuits: A Design Perspective”, Prentice Hall , 2003, ISBN 8120322576
Jan M. Rabaey , “Low Power Design Essentials”, Springer, 2009, ISBN 0387717137
The course includes:
- Oral lessons
- Lab work, which in turn includes:
- Asssisted design activities, under teacher guidance
- Autonomous design work, with teacher assistance
Assessment methods and criteria
The final examination consists of an oral examination, discussing in depth:
- Knowledge oftheoretical topics
- a VLSI system design, carried out in laboratory (even in cooperation with a small group of fellow students)