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Innovative Teaching of IC Design and Manufacture Using the Superchip Platform

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4 Author(s)
Peter R. Wilson ; Sch. of Electron. & Comput. Sci., Univ. of Southampton, Southampton, UK ; Reuben Wilcock ; Iain McNally ; Matthew Swabey

This paper describes how an intelligent chip architecture has allowed a large cohort of undergraduate (UG) students to be given effective practical insight into integrated circuit (IC) design by designing and manufacturing their own ICs. To achieve this, an efficient chip architecture, the ¿Superchip,¿ was developed, which allows multiple student designs to be fabricated on a single IC, and encapsulated in a standard package without excessive cost in terms of time or resources. This paper demonstrates how the practical process has been tightly coupled with theoretical aspects of the degree course and how transferable skills are incorporated into the design exercise. Furthermore, the students are introduced at an early stage to the key concepts of teamwork, exposure to real deadlines, and collaborative report writing. This paper provides details of the teaching rationale, design exercise overview, design process, chip architecture, and test regime.

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IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:53 ,  Issue: 2 )