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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 1 Introduction T HE DESIGN process for digital integrated circuits is extremely complex. It is so complex that designing integrated circuits is impossible without using powerful tools (design programs) to help. Unfortunately, the Electronic Design Automation In this book Ill call the tools CAD tools and the companies EDA companies. (EDA) and Computed Aided Design (CAD) tools that are essential to this design process are also extremely complex. Finding a combination of tools and a way of using those tools that works for a particular design is known as finding a tool path for that project. That is, the tool path consists of finding a path to take through the set of complex tools required for all the different portions of the design process that works for what the designer is trying to accomplish. This book will introduce each of the CAD tools that can make up such a path for the design of digital integrated circuits. The tools are introduced through tutorial examples that illustrate their use and their place in a larger tool flow. As a designer you can read the descriptions to gain an understanding of what the tools do and how they fit into a flow, or you can follow along with the tutorial to get hands-on experience with the tool. This is the best way to use this book. I think that getting your hands dirty and driving the tools yourself on an example is the only way you will really understand how to use them. Furthermore, even for the tools that can be driven by scripts, I think that it will help you understand what the tools are doing by first using the tools on an example in graphical user interface (GUI) mode. That is, by driving the tools yourself from the menus. This understanding of the tools will result in increasing your effectiveness in using the tools from scripts later. The tools described in this book are from Cadence (www.cadence.com) and Synopsys (www.synopsys.com) and are available to university students through special arrangements that these companies make with universities. Tool bundles that would normally cost hun- dreds of thousands or even millions of dollars if purchased directly from the companies are made available through university programs at relatively small fixed fees. In order to justify these small fees, however, the EDA companies typically reduce 2 CHAPTER 1: Introduction their costs by offering very limited support for these tools to university customers. In an industrial setting there would likely be an entire CAD support department whose job it is to get the tools running and develop tool flows for projects within the company. Few universities, however, can afford that type of support for their CAD tools. That leaves Instructions for installing the CAD tools can be found in the appendices....
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- Fall '11
- Integrated Circuit