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Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE Transactions on

Issue 2 • Date Feb. 2013

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Displaying Results 1 - 24 of 24
  • Table of Contents

    Page(s): C1 - C4
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  • IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems publication information

    Page(s): C2
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  • Application Space Exploration of a Heterogeneous Run-Time Configurable Digital Signal Processor

    Page(s): 193 - 205
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    This paper describes the application space exploration of a heterogeneous digital signal processor with dynamic reconfiguration capabilities. The device is built around three reconfigurable engines featuring different flavours and computation granularities that make it suitable for a wide range of signal processing application domains such as video coding, image processing, telecommunications, and cryptography. Performance of signal processing applications is evaluated from measurements performed on a CMOS 90 nm prototype. In order to characterize the application space of the processor, performance is compared with state-of-the-art devices, taking programmability, computational capabilities, and energy efficiency as the main metrics. The device exploits performance and energy efficiency significantly more than general purpose processors, while still maintaining a user-friendly programming approach that mainly relies on software-oriented languages. The device is able to achieve 1.2 to 15 GOPS with an energy efficiency from 2 to 50 GOPS/W when running the selected applications. View full abstract»

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  • A Unified Graphics and Vision Processor With a 0.89 /spl mu/W/fps Pose Estimation Engine for Augmented Reality

    Page(s): 206 - 216
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    A unified vision and graphics processor with three layers is shown to provide a fast pipeline for augmented reality. In the image-level layer, a 153.6 GOPS massively parallel processing unit with eight SIMD processors, each containing 128 processing elements, performs highly data-parallel operations. In the sub-image layer, a rasterizer and a pixel arranger respectively generate and reduce data-level parallelism. In the descriptor-level layer, a pose estimation engine executes sequential programs. Our processor can provide images for augmented reality at 100 fps, for a power consumption of 413 mW. This is 39% faster than a comparable smartphone implementation. Our chip is fabricated in a 0.18 μm CMOS process and contains 0.95 M gates. View full abstract»

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  • CORDIC Designs for Fixed Angle of Rotation

    Page(s): 217 - 228
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    Rotation of vectors through fixed and known angles has wide applications in robotics, digital signal processing, graphics, games, and animation. But, we do not find any optimized coordinate rotation digital computer (CORDIC) design for vector-rotation through specific angles. Therefore, in this paper, we present optimization schemes and CORDIC circuits for fixed and known rotations with different levels of accuracy. For reducing the area- and time-complexities, we have proposed a hardwired pre-shifting scheme in barrel-shifters of the proposed circuits. Two dedicated CORDIC cells are proposed for the fixed-angle rotations. In one of those cells, micro-rotations and scaling are interleaved, and in the other they are implemented in two separate stages. Pipelined schemes are suggested further for cascading dedicated single-rotation units and bi-rotation CORDIC units for high-throughput and reduced latency implementations. We have obtained the optimized set of micro-rotations for fixed and known angles. The optimized scale-factors are also derived and dedicated shift-add circuits are designed to implement the scaling. The fixed-point mean-squared-error of the proposed CORDIC circuit is analyzed statistically, and strategies for reducing the error are given. We have synthesized the proposed CORDIC cells by Synopsys Design Compiler using TSMC 90-nm library, and shown that the proposed designs offer higher throughput, less latency and less area-delay product than the reference CORDIC design for fixed and known angles of rotation. We find similar results of synthesis for different Xilinx field-programmable gate-array platforms. View full abstract»

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  • Application-Driven End-to-End Traffic Predictions for Low Power NoC Design

    Page(s): 229 - 238
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    As chip multiprocessors keep increasing the number of cores on the chip, the network-on-chip (NoC) technology is becoming essential for interconnecting the cores. While NoCs result in noticeable performance boost over conventional bus systems, they consume a non-negligible fraction of the system power. One promising solution is to dynamically adjust the working frequencies/voltages of the switches as well as the links between switches in the NoC to match the traffic flows. The question is when to adjust and by how much. Most previous works take a passive approach by reacting to fluctuations in local traffic flows. Unfortunately, this approach may be too slow and too conservative in adjusting the working frequencies/voltages. Since applications often exhibit periodic behaviors, we propose a hardware mechanism to proactively adjust the frequencies/voltages of switches and/or links in NoC by predicting the application runtime traffic. The evaluations show that our design achieves 86% dynamic power savings of the links in the on-chip network, and the resulting overheads from mispredictions are tolerable. View full abstract»

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  • Thermal-Constrained Task Allocation for Interconnect Energy Reduction in 3-D Homogeneous MPSoCs

    Page(s): 239 - 249
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    3-D technology that stacks silicon dies with through silicon vias (TSVs) is a promising solution to overcome the interconnect scaling problem in giga-scale integrated circuits (ICs). Thermal dissipation is a major challenge for 3-D integration and prior thermal-balanced task scheduling methods for 3-D multiprocessor system-on-chips (MPSoCs) typically balance power gradient across vertical stacks based on the assumption of strong thermal correlation among processing cores within a stack. On the other hand, 3-D MPSoCs typically employ network-on-chip (NoC) as the communication infrastructure which consumes a large portion of the energy budget. As TSVs consume much less energy than horizontal links in 3-D MPSoCs when transmitting the same amount data due to the reduced interconnect distance between vertical adjacent cores, it motivates to allocate heavily communicating tasks within the same vertical stack as much as possible, and thus traffic is restricted in the third dimension to reduce interconnect energy. However, aggregating active tasks within the same stack probably exacerbates the power density and result in hot spots. In this paper, we explore the tradeoff between thermal and interconnect energy when allocating tasks in 3-D Homogeneous MPSoCs, and propose an efficient heuristic. Experimental results show that the proposed technique can reduce interconnect energy by more than 25% on average with almost the same peak temperature when compared with prior thermal-balanced solutions. View full abstract»

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  • A Wide-Range PLL Using Self-Healing Prescaler/VCO in 65-nm CMOS

    Page(s): 250 - 258
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    The variability and leakage current in nanoscale CMOS technology may degrade the circuit performances significantly. To accommodate the above issues in a wide-range phase-locked loop (PLL), a self-healing prescaler, a self-healing voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO), and a calibrated charge pump (CP) are presented. This PLL is fabricated in a 65-nm CMOS technology and its active area is 0.0182 mm2 . For the self-healing VCO, its measured frequency range is from 60 to 1489 MHz. When this PLL operates at 855 MHz, the measured rms and peak-to-peak jitters are 8.03 and 55.6 ps, respectively. The measured reference spur is -52.89 dBc. This PLL consumes 4.3 mW from 1.2 V supply without buffers. View full abstract»

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  • A Clock Control Strategy for Peak Power and RMS Current Reduction Using Path Clustering

    Page(s): 259 - 269
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    Peak power reduction has been a critical challenge in the design of integrated circuits impacting the chip's performance and reliability. The reduction of peak power also reduces the power density of integrated circuits. Due to large IR-voltage drops in circuits, transistor switching slows down giving rise to timing violations and logic failures. In this paper, we present a new clock control strategy for peak-power reduction in VLSI circuits. In the proposed method, the simultaneous switching of combinational paths is minimized by taking advantage of the delay slacks among the paths and clustering the paths with similar slack values. Once the paths are identified based on the path delays and their slack values, the clustering algorithm determines the ideal number of clusters for the given circuit and for each cluster the maximum possible phase shift that can be applied to the clock. The paths are assigned to clusters in a load balanced manner based on the slack values and each cluster will have a phase shift possible on its clock depending on the slack. Thus, the proposed register-transfer level (RTL) method takes advantage of the logic-path timing slack to re-schedule circuit activities at optimal intervals within the unaltered clock period. When switching activities are redistributed more evenly across the clock period, the IC supply-current consumption is also spread across a wider range of time within the clock period. This has the beneficial effect of reducing peak-current draw in addition to reducing RMS power draw without having to change the operating frequency and without utilizing additional power supply voltages as in dual or multi VT approaches. The proposed method is implemented and tested through simulations using an experimental setup with Synopsys Tools Suite and Cadence Tools on the ISCAS'85 benchmark circuits, OpenCore circuits and LEON processor multiplier circuit. Experimental results indicate that peak power can be reduced significantly to at- least 72% depending on the number of clusters and the phase-shifted clock identified as suitable for the given circuit by the proposed algorithms. Although the proposed method incurs some power overhead compared to the traditional clocking method, the overhead can be made negligible compared to the peak-power reduction as seen in the experimental results presented. View full abstract»

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  • A Fast-Locking All-Digital Deskew Buffer With Duty-Cycle Correction

    Page(s): 270 - 280
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    In this paper, a fast-locking all-digital deskew buffer with duty cycle correction is proposed and implemented. A cyclic time-to-digital converter is introduced to decrease the locking time in conventional register-controlled delay-locked loop to only two input clock cycles in coarse tuning. With the aid of the three half delay lines technique, the mismatch between half delay lines causing the duty cycle distortion can be alleviated by interpolation. A balanced edge combiner to achieve a precise 50% output clock is also presented. A test chip is fabricated in 0.18-μm technology to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed architecture. The circuit can accept the input clock rates from 250 to 625 MHz with the duty cycle variation within 30% and 70% to generate 50% output clocks. It preserves the capability of closed-loop control with a small area and power consumption. View full abstract»

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  • A Built-In Repair Analyzer With Optimal Repair Rate for Word-Oriented Memories

    Page(s): 281 - 291
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    This paper presents a built-in self repair analyzer with the optimal repair rate for memory arrays with redundancy. The proposed method requires only a single test, even in the worst case. By performing the must-repair analysis on the fly during the test, it selectively stores fault addresses, and the final analysis to find a solution is performed on the stored fault addresses. To enumerate all possible solutions, existing techniques use depth first search using a stack and a finite-state machine. Instead, we propose a new algorithm and its combinational circuit implementation. Since our formulation for the circuit allows us to use the parallel prefix algorithm, it can be configured in various ways to meet area and test time requirements. The total area of our infrastructure is dominated by the number of content addressable memory entries to store the fault addresses, and it only grows quadratically with respect to the number of repair elements. The infrastructure is also extended to support various types of word-oriented memories. View full abstract»

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  • System-Level Modeling and Analysis of Thermal Effects in Optical Networks-on-Chip

    Page(s): 292 - 305
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    The performance of multiprocessor systems, such as chip multiprocessors (CMPs), is determined not only by individual processor performance, but also by how efficiently the processors collaborate with one another. It is the communication architecture that determines the collaboration efficiency on the hardware side. Optical networks-on-chip (ONoCs) are emerging communication architectures that can potentially offer ultra-high communication bandwidth and low latency to multiprocessor systems. Thermal sensitivity is an intrinsic characteristic of photonic devices used by ONoCs as well as a potential issue. This paper systematically modeled and quantitatively analyzed the thermal effects in ONoCs. We used an 8 × 8 mesh-based ONoC as a case study and evaluated the impacts of thermal effects in the average power efficiency for real MPSoC applications. We revealed three important factors regarding ONoC power efficiency under temperature variations, and proposed several techniques to reduce the temperature sensitivity of ONoCs. These techniques include the optimal initial setting of microresonator resonant wavelength, increasing the 3-dB bandwidth of optical switching elements by parallel coupling multiple microresonators, and the use of passive-routing optical router Crux to minimize the number of switching stages in mesh-based ONoCs. We gave a mathematical analysis of periodically parallel coupling of multiple microresonators and show that the 3-dB bandwidth of optical switching elements can be widened nearly linearly with the ring number. Evaluation results for different real MPSoC applications show that, on the basis of thermal tuning, the optimal device setting improves the average power efficiency by 54% to 1.2 pJ/bit when chip temperature reaches 85 °C. The findings in this paper can help support the further development of this emerging technology. View full abstract»

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  • A Study of Tapered 3-D TSVs for Power and Thermal Integrity

    Page(s): 306 - 319
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    3-D integration presents a path to higher performance, greater density, increased functionality and heterogeneous technology implementation. However, 3-D integration introduces many challenges for power and thermal integrity due to large switching currents, longer power delivery paths, and increased parasitics compared to 2-D integration. In this work, we provide an in-depth study of power and thermal issues while incorporating the physical design characteristics unique to 3-D integration. We provide a qualitative perspective of the power and thermal dissipation issues in 3-D and study the impact of Through Silicon Vias (TSVs) size for their mitigation. We investigate and discuss the design implications of power and thermal issues in the presence of decoupling capacitors, TSV/on-die/package parasitics, various resonance effects and power gating. Our study is based on a ten-tier system utilizing existing 3-D technology specifications. Based on detailed power distribution and heat dissipation models, we present a comprehensive analysis of TSV tapering for alleviating power and thermal integrity issues in 3-D ICs. View full abstract»

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  • Improved Trace Buffer Observation via Selective Data Capture Using 2-D Compaction for Post-Silicon Debug

    Page(s): 320 - 328
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    This paper presents a novel technique for extending the capacity of trace buffers when capturing debug data during post-silicon debug. It exploits the fact that is it not necessary to capture error-free data in the trace buffer since that information can be obtained from simulation. A selective data capture method is proposed in this paper that only captures debug data during clock cycles in which errors are present. The proposed debug method requires only three debug sessions. The first session estimates a rough error rate, the second session identifies a set of suspect clock cycles where errors may be present, and the third session captures the suspect clock cycles in the trace buffer. The suspect clock cycles are determined through a 2-D compaction technique using multiple-input signature register signatures and cycling register signatures. Intersecting both signatures generates a small number of suspect clock cycles for which the trace buffer needs to capture. The effective observation window of the trace buffer can be expanded significantly, by up to orders of magnitude. Experimental results indicate very significant increases in the effective observation window for a trace buffer can be obtained. View full abstract»

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  • AC-Plus Scan Methodology for Small Delay Testing and Characterization

    Page(s): 329 - 341
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    Small delay defects escaping traditional delay testing could cause a device to malfunction in the field and thus detecting these defects is often necessary. To address this issue, we propose three test modes in a new methodology called AC-plus scan, in which versatile test clocks can be generated on the chip by embedding an all-digital phase-locked loop (ADPLL) into the circuit under test (CUT). AC-plus scan can be executed on an in-house wireless test platform called HOY system. The first test mode of our AC-plus scan provides a more efficient way to measure the longest path delay associated with each test pattern. Experimental result shows that our method could greatly reduce the test time by 81.8%. The second test mode is designed for volume production test. It could effectively detect small delay defects and provide fast characterization on those defective chips for further processing. This mode could be used to help predict which chips are more likely to fall victim to operational failure in the field. The third test mode is to extract the waveform of each flip-flop's output in a real chip. This is made possible by taking advantage of the almost unlimited test memory our HOY test platform provides, so that we could easily store a great volume of data and reconstruct the waveform for post-silicon debugging. We have successfully fabricated a Viterbi decoder chip with such an AC-plus scan methodology inside to demonstrate its capability. View full abstract»

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  • A Variation Tolerant Current-Mode Signaling Scheme for On-Chip Interconnects

    Page(s): 342 - 353
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    Current-mode signaling (CMS) with dynamic overdriving is one of the most promising scheme for high-speed low-power communication over long on-chip interconnects. However, they are sensitive to parameter variations due to reduced voltage swings on the line. In this paper, we propose a variation tolerant dynamic overdriving CMS scheme. The proposed CMS scheme and a competing CMS scheme (CMS-Fb) are fabricated in 180-nm CMOS technology. Measurement results show that the proposed scheme offers 34% reduction in energy/bit and 42% reduction in energy-delay-product over CMS-Fb scheme for a 10 mm line operating at 0.64 Gbps of data rate. Simulations indicate that the proposed CMS scheme consumes 0.297 pJ/bit for data transfer over the 10 mm line at 2.63 Gb/s. Measurements indicate that the delay of CMS-Fb becomes 2.5 times its nominal value in the presence of intra-die variations whereas the delay of the proposed scheme changes by only 5% for the same amount of intra-die variations. Measurement and simulation results show that both the schemes are robust against inter-die variations. Experiments and simulations also indicate that the proposed CMS scheme is more robust against practical variations in supply and temperature as compared to CMS-Fb scheme. View full abstract»

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  • Modeling and Analysis of Power Distribution Networks in 3-D ICs

    Page(s): 354 - 366
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    This paper addresses the modeling and analysis problems for power distribution networks (PDNs) in 3-D ICs. An on-chip distributed model is proposed for 3-D power grids, in which the details of metal layers are considered. The distributed model is demonstrated to be essential to identifying the unique noise behavior of 3-D PDNs. A lumped model is proposed based on the distributed model. The lumped model features the connection impedance between tiers and is proven to be useful for designers to understand the global effects of 3-D PDNs. Based on the models, an analysis flow is designed for 3-D PDNs in both frequency domain and time domain. With the analysis flow, the electrical characteristics of 3-D PDNs are studied systematically for the first time. The frequency-domain analysis identifies the global and local resonance phenomena in 3-D PDNs that are distinct from those in 2-D PDNs. The physical mechanisms behind the resonance phenomena are investigated. The time-domain analysis predicts the worst-case supply noise based on distributed current constraints. The “Rogue Wave” concept is introduced to explain the spatial and temporal relations of the worst-case on-chip noise responses in 3-D PDNs. View full abstract»

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  • A Low-Cost, Systematic Methodology for Soft Error Robustness of Logic Circuits

    Page(s): 367 - 379
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    Due to current technology scaling trends such as shrinking feature sizes and decreasing supply voltages, circuit reliability is becoming more susceptible to radiation-induced transient faults (soft errors). Soft errors, which have been a great concern in memories, are now a main factor in reliability degradation of logic circuits as well. In this paper, we present a systematic and integrated methodology for circuit robustness to soft errors. The proposed soft error rate (SER) reduction framework, based on redundancy addition and removal (RAR), aims at eliminating those gates with large contribution to the overall SER. Several metrics and constraints are introduced to guide the RAR-based approach toward SER reduction. Furthermore, we integrate a resizing strategy into our framework, as post-RAR additive SER optimization. The strategy can identify most critical gates to be upsized and thereby, minimize area and power overheads while maintaining a high level of soft error robustness. Experimental results show that the proposed RAR-based framework can achieve up to 70% reduction in output failure probability. On average, about 23% SER reduction is obtained with less than 4% area overhead. View full abstract»

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  • Low Complexity Out-of-Order Issue Logic Using Static Circuits

    Page(s): 380 - 384
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    In this paper a single-cycle issue queue circuit architecture that simplifies the wakeup and selection logic is proposed. The micro-architecture and fully static CMOS circuits are presented for a 32-entry queue that issues four instructions per cycle. The instruction-ready signals are divided into groups and processed in parallel to issue the four oldest ready instructions. The complete issue queue and prioritization logic requires 20 inversions, allowing simulated circuit operation at over 4 GHz in a foundry 45 nm SOI fabrication process. View full abstract»

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  • Low Latency Systolic Montgomery Multiplier for Finite Field GF(2^{m}) Based on Pentanomials

    Page(s): 385 - 389
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    In this paper, we present a low latency systolic Montgomery multiplier over GF(2m) based on irreducible pentanomials. An efficient algorithm is presented to decompose the multiplication into a number of independent units to facilitate parallel processing. Besides, a novel so-called “pre-computed addition” technique is introduced to further reduce the latency. The proposed design involves significantly less area-delay and power-delay complexities compared with the best of the existing designs. It has the same or shorter critical-path and involves nearly one-fourth of the latency of the other in case of the National Institute of Standards and Technology recommended irreducible pentanomials. View full abstract»

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  • IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems information for authors

    Page(s): 390
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    Page(s): 391
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  • IEEE Xplore Digital Library

    Page(s): 392
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  • IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems society information

    Page(s): C3
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Aims & Scope

Design and realization of microelectronic systems using VLSI/ULSI technologies require close collaboration among scientists and engineers in the fields of systems architecture, logic and circuit design, chips and wafer fabrication, packaging, testing, and systems applications. Generation of specifications, design, and verification must be performed at all abstraction levels, including the system, register-transfer, logic, circuit, transistor, and process levels.

To address this critical area through a common forum, the IEEE Transactions on VLSI Systems was founded. The editorial board, consisting of international experts, invites original papers which emphasize the novel system integration aspects of microelectronic systems, including interactions among system design and partitioning, logic and memory design, digital and analog circuit design, layout synthesis, CAD tools, chips and wafer fabrication, testing and packaging, and system level qualification. Thus, the coverage of this Transactions focuses on VLSI/ULSI microelectronic system integration.

Topics of special interest include, but are not strictly limited to, the following: • System Specification, Design and Partitioning, • System-level Test, • Reliable VLSI/ULSI Systems, • High Performance Computing and Communication Systems, • Wafer Scale Integration and Multichip Modules (MCMs), • High-Speed Interconnects in Microelectronic Systems, • VLSI/ULSI Neural Networks and Their Applications, • Adaptive Computing Systems with FPGA components, • Mixed Analog/Digital Systems, • Cost, Performance Tradeoffs of VLSI/ULSI Systems, • Adaptive Computing Using Reconfigurable Components (FPGAs) 

Full Aims & Scope

Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Yehea Ismail
CND Director
American University of Cairo and Zewail City of Science and Technology
New Cairo, Egypt
y.ismail@aucegypt.edu