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A new course at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in digital systems design uses a novel approach of comparing ASIC and FPGA technologies, implementations, methodologies, CAD tools and trends. The course builds on basic courses in VLSI, HDL-based design and programmable logic but introduces the design of large-scale systems and the associated methodologies and tools. Recent advancements due to Moore's law have resulted in significant challenges in physical design, including interconnection, power consumption, reliability and verification. These challenges are explored at a fundamental level as well as solutions in modern CAD tools from Cadence, Synopsys, Xilinx and Altera. Both ASIC and FPGA solutions are explored and the economic, performance, power and flexibility tradeoffs are studied for each technology. The course was offered to undergraduates, graduates and engineers in industry through live, CD/DVD and on-line formats. The course is fully archived on CD/DVD and on the Web at: http://www.ecs.umass.edu/ece/vspgroup/burleson /courses/559/.
Date of Conference: 12-14 June 2005