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Traditional multilevel partitioning approaches have shown good performance with respect to cutsize, but offer no guarantees with respect to system performance. Timing-driven partitioning methods based on iterated net reweighting, partitioning, and timing analysis have been proposed (Ababei et al., 2002), as well as methods that apply degrees of freedom such as retiming (Cong et al., 2000), (Cong et al., 2002). In this paper, we identify and validate a simple approach to timing-driven partitioning based on the concept of "V-shaped nodes." We observe that the presence of V-shaped nodes can badly impact circuit performance, as measured by maximum hopcount across the cutline or similar path delay criteria. We extend traditional the Fiduccia-Mattheyses (FM) variant of the Kernighan-Lin (Kernighan and Lin, 1970) algorithm approaches to directly eliminate or minimize "distance-k V-shaped nodes" in the bipartitioning solution, achieving an attractive tradeoff between cutsize and path delay. Experiments show that in comparison to MLPart (Caldwell et al., 2000), our method can reduce the maximum hopcount by 39% while only slightly increasing cutsize and runtime. No previous method improves path delay in such a transparent manner. The new partitioner is incorporated into a placer (http://vlsicad.ucsd.edu/GSRC/bookshelf/Slots/Placement/Capo/) and circuit delay is evaluated by a commercial static timing analyzer (http://www.ece.uci.edu/eceware/cadence_docs/pearluser/). The empirical results show that the delay is significantly reduced, at the cost of very acceptable impacts on wirelength and runtime.