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A Technology-Agnostic Simulation Environment (TASE) for iterative custom IC design across processes

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5 Author(s)
Nalam, S. ; Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA ; Bhargava, M. ; Ringgenberg, K. ; Ken Mai
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A designer's intent and knowledge about the critical issues and trade-offs underlying a custom circuit design are implicit in the simulations she sets up for design creation and verification. However, this knowledge is tightly conjoined with technology-specific features and decoupled from the final schematic in traditional design flows. As a result, this knowledge is easily lost when the technology specifics change. This paper presents a technology agnostic simulation environment (TASE), which is a tool that uses simulation templates to capture the designer's knowledge and separate it from the technology-specific components of a simulation. TASE also allows the designer to form groups of related simulations and port them as a unit to a new technology. This allows an actual design schematic to remain tied to the analyses that illuminate the underlying trade-offs and design issues, unlike the case where schematics are ported alone. Giving the designer immediate access to the trade-offs, which are likely to change in new technologies, accelerates the re-design that often must accompany porting of complicated custom circuits. We demonstrate the usefulness of TASE by investigating Read and Write noise margins for a 6T SRAM in predictive technologies down to 16 nm.

Published in:

Computer Design, 2009. ICCD 2009. IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

4-7 Oct. 2009

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