VLSI Design Principles
Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Iestyn Pierce
Overall aims and purpose
This module aims to introduce the concepts and design techniques of Very Large Scale Integration systems through a study of Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), with particular emphasis on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs).
• ASIC technologies: fully custom, standard cell, gate array and programmable ASICs. Influence of total cost on choice of ASIC type.
• Programmable Logic Devices (PLDs), Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). Programming technology. CMOS logic cells. Coarse-grained vs fine-grained architectures. Routing and Timing. I/O cells. Embedded microprocessors.
• ASIC Design Software, design flows and design entry methods: Schematic Entry, Hardware Description Languages (HDLs): VHDL.
• Behavioural and structural models. Event-driven simulation. Logic Synthesis: limitations of HDL based logic synthesis.
• Register Transfer Level (RTL) design: datapath, High Level State Machines (HSM), operator binding, operator scheduling, area-time trade-offs.
Learning outcomes mapped to assessment criteria
Know about the different types of ASIC available and their suitability for different applications.
|Can state the different types of ASIC available. Shows basic knowledge of relative production cost per unit and cost to design of different types of ASIC.||Can describe the construction and architecture of different ASIC types. Can choose most suitable type based on cost when choice is clear.||Can give a reasoned argument for a particular choice of technology.|
Understand the principles of Programmable ASIC technology.
|Can describe architecture of FPGAs and their logic and I/O cells. Shows knowledge of timing limitations.||Demonstrates understanding of the basic physics of CMOS logic cells. Can build simple logic functions from standard cells.||Can perform timing analysis of simple circuits, using reasonable approximations based on underlying physics.|
Understand the principles of ASIC design.
|Can describe the ASIC design process. Can specify simple logic circuits using VHDL. Can describe the simulation process. Knows the differences between behavioural and structural models.||Can explain the need for behavioural and structural models for the same circuit. Can perform “dry runs” of VHDL simulations. Can devise simple RTL designs.||Can describe the limitations and pitfalls of HDL-based logic synthesis and design. Can perform “dry runs” of VHDL simulations showing correct use of Delta Time. Can evaluate alternative RTL designs.|
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Worked examples, design problems, attempting tutorial questions, completing past exam papers, revision.
2 x 1 hour lectures per week for 12 weeks includes 4 x 1 hour tutorial sessions in lecture slots
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- Apply underpinning concepts and ideas of engineering;
- Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of electronic engineering in an international context;
- Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of computer systems engineering in an international context;
- Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of computer systems for controlling complex systems;
- Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of computer systems engineering in safety-critical areas;
- Solve problems logically and systematically;
- Demonstrate familiarity with relevant subject specific and general computer software packages.
Pre- and Co-requisite Modules
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- H612: BEng Computer Systs Eng (3 yrs) year 2 (BENG/CSE)
- H610: BENG Electronic Engineering (3 yrs) year 2 (BENG/ELE)
- H621: BEng Electronic Engineering with International Experience year 2 (BENG/ELEIE)
- H603: BSc Computer Systems Engineering year 2 (BSC/CSENG)
- H611: BSc Electronic Engineering year 2 (BSC/ELE)
- H661: MEng Control and Instrumentation Engineering year 2 (MENG/CIE)
- H660: MEng Critical Safety Engineering year 2 (MENG/CRSEN)
- H617: MEng Computer Systs Eng (4 yrs) year 2 (MENG/CSE)
- H619: MEng Computer Systems Engineering (with International Exper) year 2 (MENG/CSEIE)
- H601: MEng Electronic Engineering (4 yrs) year 2 (MENG/EE)
- H618: MEng Electronic Engineering with International Experience year 2 (MENG/EEIE)