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The complexity of the circuit that can fit on an integrated circuit (IC) chip has reached the level of a million transistors with the advent of Very-large-Scale Integration (VLSI). Several automatic synthesis systems have evolved that "aid" the human designer in managing this complexity. This paper surveys such efforts. The synthesis is viewed as the process of transforming a high-level design specification into a lower level design specification that includes more structural details, leading to the physical design of the IC. The characteristics of ten automatic synthesis systems are summarized.