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Fast and accurate timing characterization using functional information

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6 Author(s)
H. Yalcin ; Cadence Design Syst. Inc., San Jose, CA, USA ; M. Mortazavi ; R. Palermo ; C. Bamji
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In deep submicrometer integrated circuit design, there is a growing need to quickly and accurately characterize the timing of large circuit blocks. Accurate timing characterization requires making available as much timing information as possible at each step of the design process. Conventional fast characterization methods typically employ topological analysis, which can be inaccurate because of its inability to eliminate false paths. To address this problem, a new method for creating accurate timing models of circuit blocks by making efficient use of their functionality is introduced. The proposed mode-dependent characterization (ModeChar) method is based on calculating a distinct timing model for each mode of circuit operation and reflects the way practical circuits function. ModeChar produces a mode-dependent timing model that contains delay information for a given set of circuit modes. It is shown that circuit delays are never underestimated by the mode-dependent models. The concept of mode dependency is taken further by extending it to sequential circuits. Given a sequential circuit, a compact set of constraints is derived for each circuit mode that captures all the timing constraints that must be satisfied for correct operation of the circuit. Experimental results are presented that demonstrate the effectiveness of ModeChar in eliminating many false paths that would otherwise result in performance penalties. In addition, our experiments indicate that delays can vary considerably among circuit modes, making conventional topological analysis overly pessimistic. To make the mode-dependent models more compact, an efficient algorithm far coalescing delay information is also introduced

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 2 )