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VSI VISION August 2005

The Periodical of the VLSI Society of India August 2005 Volume 1 Issue 1

VLSI Society of India

VSI VISION August 2005

VSI VISION The Periodical of the VLSI Society of India

This is the first issue of VSI VISION - the Periodical of the VLSI Society of India. VSI has been publishing two issues of the newsletter every year. The periodical is an extension of the newsletter and is envisioned to include:

Peer-reviewed articles reporting original, previously unpublished work carried out by contributing authors Invited articles from experts Survey articles from experts Reports of VLSI-related events taking place in India Debate a forum for discussing topics related to the Indian VLSI milieu Cool Vision - featuring crosswords, puzzles, quiz, and other fun items, all related to VLSI Book Reviews Letters to the Editor, providing feedback on VISION and/or the activities of the VSI

At present, the plan is to bring out two issues of VLSI VISION every year. The frequency will be increased if the number of submissions increases. Depending on the quality and quantity of paper submissions, VSI plans to have a more formal journal of the VSI in the line of IEEE Transactions. Submissions for all the above categories are invited. Submissions must be made online using the Docman system. Proposals are also invited for special issues that address a specific topic in VLSI these must be sent to the appropriate area editor.

Members of the Editorial Board (2005-2006)

Vishwani Agrawal, Auburn University, USA (Testing, Low Power) Srimat Chakradhar, NEC, USA (Embedded Systems, Testing) S. Chattopadhyay, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (Testing) Pallab Dasgupta, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (Verification) V. Kamakoti, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (Physical Design, FPGA) S.K. Nandy, Indian Institute of Science (Embedded Systems, DSP) P.R. Panda, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (Synthesis, Architecture) V. Ramagopal Rao, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (Technology) C.P. Ravikumar, Texas Instruments, India (Testing, Architecture, Synthesis) Subir Roy, Texas Instruments, India (Verification) V. Visvanathan, Texas Instruments, India (Design Flows, EDA) G.S. Visweswaran, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (Circuits)

VSI VISION August 2005

Message from the President

Since my last communication to you in January 2005, several exciting events have happened in the Indian VLSI landscape. I am proud to state that the VLSI Society of India has played a key role in several of these developments. The Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA) has been formed in January 2005. The primary objective of ISA is to act as a catalyst for the growth of the semiconductor industry in India. VSI is working actively with ISA to enable the University Gateway initiative of ISA. In the next few months, you will hear announcements about several exciting programs that are being conceived under this initiative. I invite you to take an active role in these programs to lead them to success. Under the umbrella of VSI, several significant events have been organized in the past six months the VLSI Design Conference, a number of focused workshops, tutorials, and seminars. More than one national-level event has been organized in every month. The VLSI Design and Test Workshops (VDAT) have been awarded the status of Symposium starting this year. You will find reports about these workshops in the newsletter. I am very happy to see the enthusiastic response that these events have been eliciting. VSI will be glad to consider proposals for more such focused workshops and conferences. The Indian VLSI landscape continues to expand and more chip design projects are coming to India. This calls for a large pool of highly skilled individuals who can execute these projects. This is an area of concern for all of us - how do we grow and sustain the adequate number of highly talented people to take this revolution forward? While VSI is poised to make contributions along this vector, the society will need your help. There are many ways to get involved with VSI. Please do visit our website and I urge you to get involved!

Bobby Mitra President, VLSI Society of India Texas Instruments India 2005

VSI VISION August 2005

It is an immense pleasure to place in your hands the first issue of the periodical of the VLSI Society of India. In the past, VSI has published a newsletter; through the establishment of the periodical, the society has taken the next step. VSI has felt the need of the periodical that provides a forum for publication of papers originating from India. Today we have several Masters programs in the country in the area of VLSI and Embedded Systems. I understand that the number of Ph.D. students working in the area of VLSI has also gone up a welcome change! Almost every big name in the VLSI industry has its presence in India. We hope VSI VISION will provide an expression to the creativity for the large and growing number of VLSI professionals. We have fashioned the periodical in the style of a magazine and plan to include technical papers, news reports, announcements, and letters. If the number of high-quality paper submission goes up, VSI is committed to start a periodical in the style of IEEE transactions. I welcome the members of the Editorial Board who have agreed to contribute their valuable time towards VSI VISION. I thank them for their service to the VLSI community. I invite professionals to submit original research papers that have not been published in other forums. Please note that submissions are not restricted to authors from India alone. I also invite the readers to send letters to express their opinion on topics relevant to the Indian VLSI community. Submissions to the Cool Vision section are also welcome. Your feedback on this issue (and future issues) will go a long way in shaping the periodical. I hope you enjoy reading this issue of VSI VISION as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. With best wishes,


VSI VISION August 2005

Design Technology Challenges in the Sub-100 Nanometer Era

V. Vishvanathan, C.P. Ravikumar, and Vinod Menezes Texas Instruments Bagmane Tech Park, CV Raman Nagar Bangalore 560093 {vish,ravikumar,inod}

Abstract The much-debated Moores law is expected to hold for another decade, and we have already seen the commercialization of 90 nm and 65 nanometer technologies. Designing chips in these sub-100 nanometer technologies has proven to be a challenge. Since the cost of manufacturing in these technologies is so hgih, only major semiconductor vendors appear to be geared to face the technological challenge. The smaller players in the field are looking for alternate solutions such as reconfigurable computing platforms. To push the technological limits and yet be economically viable, it is important to get the chips right-the-first-time. This article explores the challenges of semiconductor design technology that occupy todays design engineers and will continue to do so for some years to come.

I Introduction Ever since Jack Kilby made the first integrated circuit (IC) in 1958, nothing has remained the same except for the incredible rate at which the IC is shrinking in size. Todays engineers are designing ICs targeted for manufacture with 90 nanometer (nm) and 65 nm technologies. Work is already ongoing on the 45 nanometer node. There were prophecies about the end of the scaling at the turn of the century when it was believed that the wavelength of light was a limit on the feature size. Yet, the submicron and the sub-100 nm technology are now realities. As a consequence, it is now possible to build circuits which are less than one square centimeter in surface area and have more than 100 million transistors on them. With such huge capacity, the ICs that we design today are not component chips but systems-on-chip(SoC) where the complete functionality of a system is packed into a small piece of silicon. While the raw power of semiconductor manufacturing technology is impressive, it is only half the story. In todays IC business the key to success is to able to rapidly design a differentiated product and quickly bring it to the market place. However, this cannot be done without a sophisticated infrastructure of design components and software to support an efficient design process that ensures that we manufacture silicon that is right-the-first-time. This infrastructure that supports the design process is called: design technology. As we will elaborate in greater detail below, the progress of manufacturing technology into the sub-100 nanometer regime has thrown many new complexities into the design process thereby creating significant challenges in the field of design technology. Solving these design technology challenges is critical to achieving market success with sub-100 nanometer integrated circuits.

Gordon Moore, who cofounded Intel Corporation, is well known for his observation made in 1965 that the number of devices that can be placed on a chip doubles every year. He later revised this law and predicted that the number of devices will double every two years. He received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1950 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1954. He worked at Shockley Semiconductors, founded by William Shockley, the inventor of the transistor, during 1956. In 1957, he left the company along with 7 others (Julius Blank, Victor Grinich, Jean Hoerni, Gene Kleiner, Jay Last, Robert Noyce, and Sheldon Roberts) to form Fairchild Semiconductor. In 1968, Moore and Robert Noyce left Fairchild and founded Intel. In 2001, Moore and his wife Betty made an educational donation of $600 million to Caltech University. Moore is currently the Emeritus Chairman of Intel.

VSI VISION August 2005 II Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology Trends It would be an understatement to say that progress in semiconductor manufacturing technology has been phenomenal. A combination of evolutionary and revolutionary ideas have ensured that Moores law stays on track, as it has for the past three decades. Every time we thought fundamental limits were reached, scientists and engineers would make a breakthrough. As we progress towards very deep sub-micron feature sizes, the dawn of the nano-meter era, we are once again faced with new challenges - be it process, circuit design or design technology. Business needs drive technology. Reducing die sizes reduces costs. It also enables us to integrate multiple features in a single die more economically, leading to super-chips or what is known as System-on-Chip (SoC). Shrinking does not however come for free and is associated with both positives and negatives. Approximately every two years, device dimensions shrink by 30%, resulting in doubling the number of transistors in the same area. This is also accompanied by doubling clock frequencies and better performance and area. However, physical realities on silicon paint a different picture. Shrinking dimensions are accompanied with reliability and functional issues. The manufacturing process can be subdivided into two parts the Front end of line (FEOL) and the Backend of Line (BEOL). FEOL deals with the manufacture of Metal Oxide Semiconductor (MOS) transistors. These are basically switches. Shrinking of the transistor leads to electrical stresses, which cause transistors to leak such that they may never completely turn off. Reduced gate oxide thickness causes gate leakage which can be as significant as sub-threshold leakage. Ion implants are required to alter the threshold voltage (VT) of the transistor to ensure there is gate control. BEOL deals with the manufacture of the interconnects. While transistor scaling ensures we can pack more in the same area, however an efficient metal stack is required to wire all these transistors. If this were not to scale, we would not get our 50% area reduction every technology node. To offset this, metal width and pitch are reducing, and additional layers of metal are being added. The reduction of metal width causes increased resistance, which is compensated by vertical scaling. This leads to increased coupling capacitance which resuts in more crosstalk between signal lines. Yield is a metric of manufacturability, but is not limited to process defects. Today, yield can be impacted by crosstalk which could cause glitches on data or clock resulting in intermittent failures which can be impossible to debug if not caught early in the design. The role of design technology therefore, is to provide SoC designs with the right methodology and flow in order for them to maximally leverage the gains of technology shrink, while insulating them from the electrical challenges caused by scaling. III Design Technology At a high level, design technology can be viewed as having two separate but interacting parts, namely, Design Components and Design Flow. Design Components consists of the various building blocks that are necessary to create the design. At a minimum it includes a library of logic cells (also known as a standard cell library), input/output (I/O) cells which are needed to interface the chip to the outside world and memory blocks. Increasingly however, as we move to the SoC era design components are getting to be varied and complex and could even be a full-fledged processor. These complex design components are usually referred to as intellectual property (IP) and the ready availability of the right IP often differentiates winners and losers in the race to the market place. Building large complex chips is similar to constructing a building from a standard set of pre-fabricated bricks, doors, or perhaps even pre-fabricated walls. In the chip building business these blocks are made available in a standard cell library. As customers tastes differ, one needs to offer variants of the library to please every one. Traditionally, offerings have been high density or high performance. Today's libraries are very sophisticated due to the demands made on them. A library needs to meet customer requirements such as performance (MHz), active power dissipation (mW/MHz), density (K gates/mm^2) and standby leakage (nA/gate). These objectives are met through careful design of the building blocks so that they are both individually efficient, and collectively efficient when used on the chip. In the nanometer era, timing accuracy has moved into picoseconds, which requires greater accuracy of circuit simulation, and modeling. Since a transistor level circuit simulator would be very inefficient or perhaps impossible to run at the chip level, timing models of the library cells are created. These timing models are pre-characterized tables or equations which capture the input slews and output load seen by a logic gate. Selection of load and slew points is an art. Making this selection without knowing chip level issues, could lead to significant inaccuracies in timing. High speed clocking requires special care in the design of clock buffers so that insertion delays are reduced and cells produce balanced delays for both low to high, and high to low edges. Double data rate (DDR) applications puts further constraints on the duty cycle and correspondingly on the jitter budget. 6

VSI VISION August 2005 Complex library cells require detailed analysis using statistical simulation using statistical models of the transistors and passive components. Understanding the impact of process variation is needed to guarantee functionality under all process, temperature and voltage variations. At the chip level this is handled by accounting for on-chip variation (OCV) during the timing analysis phase. The reduced size of sequential elements, such as latches and flip-flops make them prone to Soft error rate (SER). Alpha particles from the environment, including the package and the lead solder balls can cause upset charge being held at a node, which could flip the state of a storage element. Robust circuit and layout styles are required to address such soft errors, which are not physically damaging but can corrupt data inside a chip. Embedded memory designers need to also tradeoff static noise margin (SNM) vs. bit cell density. As the threshold voltage drops, to accommodate voltage scaling of 30% per node, the leakage component of power increases. Transistor leakage which was once confined to pA/um is now in the upper nA/um, resulting in Amps of static leakage if power management techniques are not employed. Innovative process, circuit, and chip design technology is required to address such issues. The previous paragraphs have described the many challenges in ensuring that the right components are in place for the timely design of an SoC. A Design Flow provides the software infrastructure that makes it possible to assemble the SoC while meeting the speed, power and area targets for the design. The flow consists of many steps which the designers need to correctly use in order to meet the particular performance, area and power goals of the chip while ensuring that they deliver the final layout to manufacturing as per the planned schedule. In many modern IC design companies the design team is distributed all over the world and the design task is split into various parts which are handled by these geographically separate teams. Managing the correct transfer and assembly of data as the parts of the chip are being designed concurrently, is a major challenge that needs to be addressed by the flow and needs sophisticated software techniques. Flow support for such concurrent design is not a luxury but a necessity in order to leverage the best available talent anywhere in the world in order to get the chip designed right and designed fast. As previously mentioned, the design flow consists of many steps each one of which needs complex engineering. Since it is not possible for us in one article to do justice to the technical challenges in each of these areas, we have picked two key major sub-flows, namely, Physical Design Closure and Test. IV Physical Design Closure In the nanometer era, complex electrical effects are making the timely design of functional, reliable chips, a major challenge. These electrical effects are problems of the small, since they relate to phenomena that happen in the nanometer scale. The same technology also creates for us, problems of the large, since it makes possible the design of chips with hundreds of millions of transistors with a complex interconnection. To further compound the challenge, these effects must be controlled with a methodology and flow that delivers high-performance, low-power, low-cost chips under aggressive time-to-market constraints. In order to verify the integrity of the design in the presence of these electrical effects, until recently, design flows relied primarily on checkers that are run once the physical design is complete. While such checks are important and necessary in order to highlight the existence of a design integrity problem, the drawback of this approach is that not much help is provided to the designer in order for him/her to quickly solve the problem by modifying the chip layout, i.e., to quickly achieve physical design closure. This challenge is currently being very actively addressed by design technology specialists. The basic requirement of physical design closure is well understood: a large percentage of manufactured chips should be functionally correct at the required clock speed. However, the manufacturing technology trends that we described previously, have created two physical effects that have complicated this problem. These are the coupling capacitance between signal wires and the voltage drop (IR drop) on the power grid that distributes the power supply to all parts of the chip. In nanometer technologies, coupling capacitance dominate the total capacitance of a wire, thereby resulting in significant crosstalk between two signal wires that are in close proximity. As a consequence, two complications occur. First, the delay on a path varies significantly depending on the relative switching patterns of wires that are close to each other. Second, substantial glitching can occur for the same reason, resulting in significant reduction in the noise margin and a possible erroneous state in the flip-flop at the tail of the path. A proper analysis of the effect of coupling capacitors on delay and noise, requires detailed parasitic information which is best extracted after routing is complete. At this stage, the analysis is accurate, but the disadvantage is that the 7

VSI VISION August 2005 corresponding fix may not be easy since the layout is completely done and committed. In this scenario, the required routing changes may not be possible due to congestion, while buffer insertion and other netlist changes may trigger a complete re-layout of the chip, thereby delaying its release to manufacture. Thus, in state-of-the-art design flows, the approach that is being currently pursued is one of avoidance. Starting early in the physical design process the software tool used for layout attempts to automatically avoid situations that can result in significant crosstalk. Additionally, during the physical design process the effect of crosstalk is estimated and the layout modified to eliminate any potential problems. This is an active area of research and development with the goal of developing a design flow in which the layout is correct-by-construction and guaranteed to be free of crosstalk problems. The Power of VLSI Circuits There is no second word on the power of VLSI circuits they enable us to build powerful systems on a single chip. There is another way the VLSI chips are becoming powerful. As the device density is increasing and the frequency of operation is going up, the power consumption of the chips is also increasing dramatically. In addition to dynamic power, the leakage power in CMOS circuits has also become a big concern in nanometer technologies. The power density in the nano-chips has already reached that of an electric hot plate, going towards that of a nuclear reactor, of a rocket nozzle, and projected to reach the power density of the core of the Sun! IR drop is a current/metal-resistance driven phenomenon. The voltage applied at the pads drops as current flows along the power rails, due to the rail resistance. Therefore, the cells do not see the full voltage, which directly translates to higher cell delay. A badly designed power grid can cause a large voltage drop in parts of the chip. If this coincides with a critical path, it would result in functionality failure at the required speed. The safe way of avoiding IR drop problems is to make sure that the power routes are sufficiently wide and have adequate decoupling capacitance. However such an approach cannot be indiscriminately applied as it may use up too much routing space on the chip. Thus, an aggressive designer might want to minimize the IR drop for only those portions of the chip that are timing critical. However, a number of issues remain to be solved, before such an approach is routinely used. First, standard timing analysis tools available today do not adequately take care of the effect of varying IR drop on timing. Second, such an approach would ideally require a dynamic (time-dependent) IR drop calculation, which is a major computational and capacity challenge for todays design flows. Manufacturing in the nanometer area presents its own set of challenges. The features of the layout do not get transferred to silicon in an identical fashion. Thus, what you see (on the screen of the workstation) is not what you get (in silicon). For example, a metal line may actually be jagged. The size parameters such as the width and length of the transistor and interconnect, are therefore reduced to statistical quantities. Similarly, the threshold voltage and other parameters associated with the transistors may vary from one transistor to another due to the vagaries of the manufacturing processes. While this variation itself is not a new phenomenon, its impact is very significant when it come to nanometer technologies. Techniques such as optical phase correction (OPC) are used to counter the problem of inaccuracy in transferring feature sizes from layout to silicon. It is also necessary to do statistical characterization of timing to take into account the variation of parameters from one transistor to another. V Test Even though one can verify a design and be confident about its correctness, things can and do go wrong during manufacturing. A dust particle, a surface imperfection in the silicon wafer, or impurities in the silicon can cause a manufactured circuit to fail. A resistive contact can result in a timing failure. Therefore, every piece of silicon that is manufactured must be tested to ensure that quality products are reaching the customer. Testing is performed by applying pre-calculated input patterns to the manufactured circuit and measuring the outputs. Since the expected values are known from the simulation of a good circuit, these measurements can reveal faults in the manufactured circuit. Functional tests are applied to check if the behavior of the manufactured circuit matches its intended functionality. However, too many functional tests will be needed to get 100% confidence on the correctness of the circuit; therefore, test engineers generate structural tests for the design. Such a test targets a possible fault and generates an input pattern that can expose this fault. Generation of the smallest number of structural tests that can uncover the highest percentage of faults is a big challenge. At one end, the fault universe is expanding stuck-at faults, delay faults, bridge faults, reliability defects and at the other end, the test pattern volume must be kept low to avoid escalation of test cost. When the volume of test data increases, the application of test becomes slow. The test cost is directly proportional to the test application time. The IC 8

VSI VISION August 2005 testers used to test modern VLSI designs cost several million dollars and are expensive to maintain. In full volume production, several such testers will be required. The cost of testing is quoted in cents per chip per second of tester engagement time this value is going up due to escalation in tester costs. In fact, the test cost today is a significant percentage of the total cost of a chip, and is comparable to the design and manufacturing cost. One of the tough challenges test engineers face is to bring down test cost. The two ways to keep test cost under control are to bring down tester cost and to reduce test data volume. In either case, the design must be modified to make it testable. For example, the scan test approach eases structural testing by allowing full access to every storage cell in the design. This approach is also known as Design for Test (DFT). Similarly, built-in self-test (BIST) is a technique whereby test patterns are generated on-chip and the comparison of responses is also done on-chip. Since modern SoC devices have a large number of memories on them, BIST is the customary test methodology for memories. Logic BIST is used for testing the digital logic in the circuit; in this technique, random test patterns are generated on-chip and the circuit responses are compressed into a signature and compared with the signature of the good circuit. Insertion of test circuitry such as scan chains, logic BIST, and memory BIST is known as Test Synthesis. A major challenge in an SoC design flow is Test Closure, which aims to minimize the impact of test synthesis on the original design. The timing, area, and power dissipation of the original circuit can get altered due to the insertion of DFT and BIST. As a matter of fact, since several electronic design automation (EDA) tools are used to achieve test synthesis, even the functional behavior of the original design must be verified again after test synthesis. Formal verification becomes useful to establish that the behavior of the circuit remains same, before and after test synthesis. Test pattern generation tools assume gates and interconnects have zero delay and the input signals arrive with no delay. This of course, is far from reality. A tester which applies the patterns cannot ensure that all the inputs change in sync with the clock. A test application involves measurement of voltage after applying the test pattern, and the delay for the output signal to settle down will be important in ensuring correctness of the measurement. The measurement must be made within a time window to be confident that a decision based on the measurement is correct. The delays of gates and interconnects can be extracted after the layout is complete. The circuit is simulated using the test patterns, factoring the delays into account. Patterns that cannot guarantee safe measurement are dropped and the resulting fault coverage loss is made up using additional test patterns. Since chip-level timing simulations are very expensive, innovative methods are required to reduce the computational effort. Distributed computing is a way of cutting down the wall clock time required for these simulations. In sub-100nm technologies, the test engineer may have to deal with several unexpected roadblocks in arriving at a test plan. For example, at what frequency should the tests be run? Since test patterns exercise a chip in entirely different ways than functional patterns, the switching activity in the circuit can go up by several orders of magnitude in the test mode, causing dynamic power dissipation to go up. Similarly, it is important to keep the leakage current under control so that IDDQ testing can be meaningfully applied. IDDQ testing refers to current testing, where a test pattern is applied to a CMOS circuit and the power supply current is measured after all the switching activity has subsided and the circuit has entered a quiescent mode. In a CMOS circuit, the quiescent current is only due to leakage and if the measured current is unusually large, the circuit under test is very likely to be defective. IDDQ testing can reveal bridge faults and reliability problems in the circuit. However, in modern System-on-Chip designs with over 100 million transistors, the quiescent current of a good circuit can be quite high, making it a challenge to apply IDDQ tests. Signal integrity issues can also become a cause of concern during test pattern generation and validation. Test pattern generation must address signal crosstalk faults and IR drop problems. Similarly, since test patterns can cause excessive switching activity and resultant IR drop, there is a need to ensure that timing failures in test mode are due to genuine defects in the circuit and not due to the test patterns. When the term Design for Test was initially coined, the thought process was that logic design cannot be done independently of testability considerations. In the nanometer era, test cannot be separated from either logic design or physical design, making it a major challenge. VI Conclusions In this article we have outlined the progress of semiconductor manufacturing technology into the nanometer era. Business needs drive this continuous shrinking of the feature sizes, since it enables the fabrication of complex systems-on-chip (SoC). However as we have further described in some detail, it is not easy for designers to harness this technology and bring complex SoCs to the market in a timely manner, unless they use sophisticated design technology to create the SoC. We have highlighted some of the many challenges that are currently being addressed in order to provide SoC designers with state-of-the-art design components and design flow. With no immediate end in sight for CMOS technology scaling, the field of design technology will continue to be a challenging one for years to come. 9

VSI VISION August 2005

The present and future of VLSI-related manpower in India VSI Survey

The VLSI Society conducted a survey on the manpower requirement in India. This was an e-survey enabled through the vdat mailing list in the period of Jan June 2005. (a) How many B.Tech/B.E. students with specialization in Semiconductors/VLSI do you think will be needed on an annual basis by 2010? The survey elicited 80 responses and the results are summarized in Figure 1. The opinion seems to vary widely approximately equal votes were received for less than 5000 and greater than 10,000.
Survey on B.Tech students

S u r v e y R e su l t s - P G S t u d e n t s

30 25 20 15 10 5 0 < 5000 19


40 35



30 25



20 14 15 10 5 0 1 10

5000 - 7500

7500 - 10000

> 10000


500 - 1000

1000 - 2000

2000 - 3000

> 3000

(b) How many PG students with specialization in Semiconductors/VLSI do you think will be needed (annually) by 2010? 82 responses were received and the results are shown in Figure 2. There seems to be a majority vote on > 3000 PG students per year by 2010. (c) What is the number of B.Tech students graduating today with some specialization in Semiconductors/VLSI to take up a profession in the VLSI area? We received 69 responses. The majority have felt that less than 1000 students graduating today have some specialization in VLSI. The details of the survey are shown in Figure 3. (d) What is the number of M.Tech students graduating today with specialization in Semiconductors/VLSI to take up a profession in VLSI? The survey elicited 65 responses. The results are shown in Figure 4. The majority have felt that less than 500 PG students graduating today have specialization in VLSI.
Current Situation - B.Tec h

40 35

Cu rrent Situ ation - M.T ech studen ts


30 25 20 15 9 10 5 0 < 1000 1000 - 2000 2000 - 3000 > 3000 7 17


40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 <500 500 - 1000 > 1000 5 18

Do you agree or disagree with the survey? If you have not already done so, you can participate in the survey! You must be a member of the vdat mailing list to participate. Go to to take part in this esurvey.


VSI VISION August 2005

Debate Are the graduating students industry-ready?

C.P. Ravikumar Talk to managers who are hiring today and ask them how many students they have to interview before they hit upon a success. The numbers they quote are staggering sometimes as high as 30. This speaks volumes about the gap in the expectations of the industry and the output coming from academic institutions. At the VLSI Education Workshop held in Jaipur in March 2005, a work session was held to debate this issue. There were about 60 participants in the workshop, including students and faculty. Since I have the privilege of talking to many colleagues in the industry, I began by loosely defining what industry feels about being industry-ready. Some fellow-professionals complain that students are weak in fundamental concepts. Some interviews go sour because the student cannot answer simple questions on electrical circuits, digital logic, concepts regarding setup and hold times of flops, or MOS transistors. I have heard it from multiple sources that a working knowledge of VHDL or Verilog is not a requirement from graduating students the industry would be happier if the student was strong in fundamentals and was able to apply his/her knowledge to solve the problem using any hints provided by the interviewer. Basic computer skills are assumed to be a given from the graduating student; most companies assume the knowledge of assembly language, at least one high-level programming language, editors, compilers, debuggers and other system-software. Soft skills are being emphasized by the industry. Good communication skills, such as documentation, making presentations, and clear articulation, are expected. It is important that the new-hire is a team-player rather than an individual performer; during college education, the student is competing with fellow students to excel after joining industry, he/she must work with colleagues and make the team win. What can this gap be attributed to? Is the curriculum in the Universities outdated? Some teachers disagree. They feel the curriculum is already strong in fundamentals. It is the execution which needs improvement, they point out. Colleges do not have sufficient resources for recruiting faculty, develop labs, and invest in software tools. The examination system promotes rote learning. In some Universities, the exam papers have choices of questions making it unnecessary for a student to know all the topics and tempting a student to skip studying important chapters. The ready made kits that offer canned experiments in labs have taken away the challenge and creativity in experiments. Lack of industry interaction has had its toll. What should be emphasized and what could be deemphasized? When I have posed this question to some of my industry colleagues, the responses I have obtained are that CMOS circuit design, design flows, effect of interconnects, design timing, verification and testing must be emphasized. They have felt that BJT can be de-emphasized. In some Universities, courses relating to semiconductor devices, circuit deign and test either do not exist or are made optional. The lack of exposure and motivation often drives the students to pursue careers in software. The investment in a software lab is smaller often, a student can use a home computer to do software assignments, reducing the dependence on labs. There is also a belief that the number of job opportunities is higher in the software industry. To the industrys complaints about the quality of outgoing students, some academicians have an acerbic response. If industry wants high quality, let them pay for it! Faculty point out that Indian semiconductor industries do not have sufficient University interaction programs. Universities require assistance in terms of student and faculty internships, student projects, and research funding. The lack of a body such as the SRC (Semiconductor Research Corporation) in India is a problem. Some faculty are also sore about the apathy meted out by Industry. Does any Indian semiconductor industry even want anything from the academia, other than students? asked a teacher. Several others complained about lack of support from EDA vendors who sell their tools to the colleges. To make the University interaction programs sustainable, it is important to make the situation a win-win for all concerned students, industry, and the faculty. To make the work session lively, I invited two participants from the audience to do a role-playing. One participant acted out the role of a faculty member and the other one acted out the role of an industry professional. The situation is, the faculty member is trying to get research project from the industry. In the initial role-play, the faculty member (actor) explained what his objective was and sought help by asking the industry to off-source some of their work to the college. It would be a win-win situation, he explained, the students have good projects to work on, and the industry can get some development done at a lower cost. The industry professional (actor) agreed to this proposal and there was a happy ending! When the audience was asked to comment on this transaction, a number of flaws were pointed out how does the faculty member convince that he and his students can indeed carry out the development work, what about IP protection, what will the faculty member gain from this arrangement, We then asked the actors to reverse their roles and repeat the role-play. Armed with all the feedback from the previous act, they now had a more meaningful (albeit stormy!) dialogue. The semiconductor industry indeed needs to get into such dialogues with faculty from the colleges to initiate meaningful relationships. With the formation of the Indian Semiconductor Association and the announcement of their University Gateway program, we can look forward to the beginnings of such relationships. 11

VSI VISION August 2005

A Tribute to Jack Kilby

The Inventor of the Integrated Circuit I think I thought it would be important for electronics as we knew it then, but that was a much simpler business and electronics was mostly radio and television and the first computers. What we did not appreciate was how much the lower costs would expand the field of electronics into completely different applications that I don't know that anyone had thought of at that time. Jack Kilby on the Integrated Circuit On 21 June 2005, Jack Kilby, the inventor of the Integrated Circuit passed away at the age of 81, after a brief fight with cancer. There are few men whose insights and professional accomplishments have changed the world. Jack Kilby was one such. His invention of the monolithic integrated circuit - the microchip -- 45 years ago at Texas Instruments (TI) laid the conceptual and technical foundation for the entire field of modern microelectronics. It was this breakthrough that made possible the sophisticated high-speed computers and largecapacity semiconductor memories of today's information age. In my opinion, there are only a handful of people whose works have truly transformed the world and the way we live in it Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers and Jack Kilby. If there was ever a seminal invention that transformed not only our industry but our world, it was Jacks invention of the first integrated circuit. TI Chairman Tom Engibous A life of distinction Jack grew up in Great Bend, Kansas. With B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the Universities of Illinois and Wisconsin respectively, he began his career in 1947 with the Centralab Division of Globe Union Inc. in Milwaukee, developing ceramic-base, silk-screen circuits for consumer electronic products. In 1958, he joined TI in Dallas. During the summer of that year, working with borrowed and improvised equipment, he conceived and built the first electronic circuit in which all of the components, both active and passive, were fabricated in a single piece of semiconductor material half the size of a paper clip. The successful laboratory demonstration of that first simple microchip on September 12, 1958 made history. Jack went on to pioneer military, industrial, and commercial applications of microchip technology. He headed teams that built both the first military system and the first computer incorporating integrated circuits. He later co-invented both the hand-held calculator and the thermal printer that was used in portable data terminals. In 1970, he took a leave of absence from TI to work as an independent inventor. He explored, among other subjects, the use of silicon technology for generating electrical power from sunlight. From 1978 to 1984, he held the position of Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University. Awards Perhaps there is no award that Jack did not receive. In 1970, in a White House ceremony in the USA, he received the National Medal of Science. In 1982, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, taking his place alongside Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and the Wright Brothers in the annals of American innovation. Jack held over 60 U.S. patents. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). He was awarded the Franklin Institute's Stuart Ballantine Medal, the NAE's Vladimir Zworykin Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Holley Medal, the IEEE's Medal of Honor, the Charles Stark Draper Prize administered by the NAE, the Cledo Brunetti Award, and the David Sarnoff Award. On the 30th anniversary of the invention of the integrated circuit, the Governor of Texas dedicated an official Texas historical marker near the site of the TI laboratory where Jack carried out his work. In 2000, Jack Kilby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his part in the invention of the integrated circuit. The Chip that Changed the World It was a relatively simple device that Jack Kilby showed to a handful of co-workers gathered in TI's semiconductor lab more than 40 years ago -- only a transistor and other components on a slice of Germanium. Little did this group of onlookers know that Kilby's invention, 7/16-by-1/16-inches in size and called an integrated circuit, was about to revolutionize the electronics industry. From Jack Kilby's first simple circuit has grown a worldwide integrated circuit market whose sales in 12

VSI VISION August 2005 2004 totaled $179 billion. These components supported a 2004 worldwide electronic end-equipment market of $1,186 billion. Such is the power of one idea to change the world. The Vacuum Tube Era For almost 50 years after the turn of the 20th century, the electronics industry had been dominated by vacuum tube technology. But vacuum tubes had inherent limitations. They were fragile, bulky, unreliable, power hungry, and produced considerable heat. It wasn't until 1947, with the invention of the transistor by Bell Telephone Laboratories, that the vacuum tube problem was solved. Transistors were miniscule in comparison, more reliable, longer lasting, produced less heat, and consumed less power. The transistor stimulated engineers to design ever more complex electronic circuits and equipment containing hundreds or thousands of discrete components such as transistors, diodes, rectifiers and capacitors. But the problem was that these components still had to be interconnected to form electronic circuits, and hand-soldering thousands of components to thousands of bits of wire was expensive and time-consuming. It was also unreliable; every soldered joint was a potential source of trouble. The challenge was to find cost-effective, reliable ways of producing these components and interconnecting them. One stab at a solution was the Micro-Module program, sponsored by the U.S. Army Signal Corps. The idea was to make all the components a uniform size and shape, with the wiring built into the components. The modules then could be snapped together to make circuits, eliminating the need for wiring the connections. Enter Kilby It was in a relatively deserted laboratory at TI's brand new Semiconductor Building where Jack Kilby first hit on the idea of the integrated circuit. In July 1958, when most employees left for the traditional two-week vacation period, Kilby -- as a new employee with no vacation -- stayed to man the shop. TI was working on the Micro-Module program when Kilby joined the company in 1958. Because of his work with Centralab in Milwaukee, Kilby was familiar with the problems in manufacturing electronic circuits. Kilby began searching for an alternative, and in the process decided the only thing a semiconductor house could make cost effectively was a semiconductor. "Further thought led me to the conclusion that semiconductors were all that were really required that resistors and capacitors [passive devices], in particular, could be made from the same material as the active devices [transistors]. I also realized that, since all of the components could be made of a single material, they could also be made in situ interconnected to form a complete circuit," Kilby wrote in a 1976 article titled Invention of the IC. Kilby began to write down and sketch out his ideas in July of 1958. By September, he was ready to demonstrate a working integrated circuit built on a piece of semiconductor material. Several executives, including former TI Chairman Mark Shepherd, gathered for the event on September 12, 1958. What they saw was a sliver of Germanium, with protruding wires, glued to a glass slide. It was a rough device, but when Kilby pressed the switch, an unending sine curve undulated across the oscilloscope screen. His invention worked he had solved the problem. Early Successes Kilby had made a big breakthrough. But while the U.S. Air Force showed some interest in TI's integrated circuit, industry reacted skeptically. Indeed the IC and its relative merits "provided much of the entertainment at major technical meetings over the next few years," Kilby wrote. The integrated circuit first won a place in the military market through programs such as the first computer using silicon chips for the Air Force in 1961 and the Minuteman Missile in 1962. Recognizing the need for a "demonstration product" to speed widespread use of the IC, Patrick E. Haggerty, former TI chairman, challenged Kilby to design a calculator as powerful as the large, electro-mechanical desktop models of the day, but small enough to fit in a coat pocket. The resulting electronic hand-held calculator, of which Kilby is a co-inventor, successfully commercialized the integrated circuit. Impact As every one of us knows, the impact of Kilby's tiny chip has been far-reaching. Many electronics products of today could not have been developed without it. The chip virtually created the modern computer industry, transforming yesterday's room-size machines into today's array of mainframes, minicomputers and personal computers. The chip restructured communications, fostering a host of new ways for instant exchanges of information between people, businesses and nations. Without the chip, man could not explore space or fly to the moon. The chip helps the deaf to hear and is the heartbeat of a myriad of medical diagnostic machines. The chip has touched education, transportation, manufacturing and entertainment. Since 1961, the worldwide electronics market has grown from $29 billion to nearly $1,150 billion. Projections indicate that it will become the world's single largest industry. This growth will depend on the continued development of newer and better technologies -- like those being developed at TI's new research and development center in Dallas. Little wonder that the research center is named after the inventor of the IC Jack Kilby.


VSI VISION August 2005 Toward the Future With continuing advances in semiconductors, you can look forward to more new amazing encounters with electronic equipment. Imagine calling the baby-sitting center to check on your child, and seeing the smiling face of your child on the screen of your cell phone. Imagine turning on the oven from your car phone as you pull out of the parking lot of your office at the end of the day. Imagine setting your car on autopilot, and looking over notes for your next day's meeting on your commute home! All this sounds like stuff from science fiction, but these breakthroughs are only a short stride away, with the help of technologies being developed today. Thanks are due to Dr T.V. Gopal of Anna University for compiling this material from the website of Texas Instruments: See for more material on Jack Kilby.

The Rule of 10 In the area of semiconductor testing, the Rule of 10 is as famous as Moores law. The Rule of 10 estimates the way the testing cost escalates when a fault is not detected at the earliest possible time. If it costs $1.00 to detect a fault at the chip level, it will cost $10.00 to detect the same thing at the board level. $100.00 to detect it in the finished product, and $1000.00 to detect it if the defective part goes to the customer. The cost of testing has grown at an alarming rate due to growing device density and the introduction of more fault models e.g. at-speed testing, bridge faults, and N-detect testing. Surveys have indicated that even in 2000, the semiconductor industry spent $5.00 billion towards testing. It is predicted that the cost of testing will overtake the cost of manufacture in 2012.

Hard facts about testing ATE Speeds grow at 12% per year, device speeds grow 30% per year. Inaccuracy of testing can result in a yield loss of up to 48% by 2012 yield loss refers to the loss in revenue due to rejection of good chips that are incorrectly classified as bad chips. A manufacturing test equipment costs in the order of a few million dollars about $8000 per pin of the device being tested. Several testers may be needed due to high volume of production, with semiconductor industry switching to 300 mm wafers.


I have attended the Educational Workshop on VLSI Design organized by MNIT, Jaipur and VLSI Society of India from 8-12 March 2005. It was indeed a good experience to listen to various emerging topics in VLSI field. Ravi Sindal Lecturer, Devi Ahilya University, Indore I really appreciate your work in promoting VLSI research, development and education in India. The society has a very significant purpose that can usher in an era of technological revolution to our country. I wish you the greatest success Warm regards, Unni Chandran For a new membership or renewal, or to obtain information about VSI events, write to the VSI Secretariat at Please include a descriptive subject line, such as Membership send application form (soft copy). When you request for hardcopy forms or brochures, please include your correct mailing address and phone number. Please feel free to forward the literature from VSI to your colleagues and friends.



VSI VISION August 2005

VSI Calendar (2005)

January 18th VLSI Design Conference 2005 and 4th International Conference on Embedded Systems at Kolkata, 3-7 January 2005, with the theme: POWER AWARE DESIGN OF VLSI SYSTEMS A Two-day Workshop on Recent Advances in Memory Technology, Design and Test, Bangalore, January 1011, 2005. A Three day Workshop on Specification and Design Methodologies for Adaptive and Embedded Systems, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, January 11-14,2005 February A Two-day Workshop on Low Power Design Techniques, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, February 2526, 2005 March VLSI Education Workshop, MNIT, Jaipur, March 8-12, 2005. April Short-term Training Program on Advanced VLSI Design, Pune, April 18-23, 2005 May VLSI Education Workshop, SJCE (Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engg), Mysore, May 8-13, 2005. A Three-Day National Workshop on Embedded Systems, May 9-11, 2005 at Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA), Thanjavur, Tamilnadu The National Workshop on Challenges in VLSI (NWCV) 2005 was held on May 13 and 14 2005, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Gandhinagar, Gujarat June A Two-week intensive hands-on Workshop on Custom LSI Design at the premises of KARMIC (Karnataka Microelectronics), Manipal, Karnataka, June 6-18, 2005 for the students and faculty with strong interest in VLSI July 2nd VLSI Embedded Systems DSP Application Seminar, VEDAS 2005, July 1-2, 2005 at Sona College of Engineering, Salem, Tamilnadu A 4-day Intensive Course on Design for Testability Theory and Practice from July 27-30, 2005 at Bangalore August 9th VLSI Design and Test Symposium 2005 (VDAT 2005), August 10-13, 2005 at the Wipro Learning Centre, Electronics City, Hosur Road, Bangalore Future Events A Two-day workshop on Mixed Signal Design and Test at the PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore during Dec 2-3, 2005 An intensive course on VLSI Design Automation by Prof. Dinesh Bhatia, University of Texas, Dallas. Projected Dates: Dec 6-10, 2005. Venue: Bangalore. A two-day workshop on Signal Integrity by Dr Ram Achar, Carleton University, Canada. Projected Date: Dec 15-16, 2005. Venue: Bangalore. A two-day workshop on Reconfigurable Systems and Applications at IIT Madras, September 2006. Coordinated by Prof. V. Kamakoti.

Please watch out for further announcements on this course on the VSI mailing list. If you propose to conduct an event, you can find information about how to submit a proposal in this issue of VSI VISION.


VSI VISION August 2005 18th International Conference on VLSI Design And 4th International Conference on Embedded Systems Theme: Power-aware Design of VLSI Systems Prof. Susmita Sur-Kolay, ISI, Kolkata The 18th International Conference on VLSI Design was held at Hotel Taj Bengal from January 3 - 7, 2005. Like the past two years, this years conference was also a joint one with the 4th International Conference on Embedded Systems. Around 800 delegates, including over 200 fellows from premier academic institutions and fully supported by the Conference, attended the 5-day conference. The technical program of the Conference was held during January 3-5 while the tutorials were on January 6-7. The increasing popularity and importance of this conference around the globe has led to its recognition as a Sister Conference by the IEEE/ACM Design Automation Conference (DAC) Committee from this year. The degree of scaling in VLSI technology and ever increasing integration density have led to unprecedented levels of power dissipation in current day VLSI circuits, and possibly creating a barrier to further scaling and integration unless effective design techniques are developed to reduce power. The demand for power-aware designs is driven by the need for lower power mobile devices as well as high power systems where performance has to be traded with the cost of cooling. Aptly, the theme of the conference this year is Power-aware Design of VLSI Systems - a highly relevant topic for industry, consumers, and academia. Several papers address this problem at various levels of design abstraction from devices to circuits and architecture. For the first time, three tracks, namely Design Methods, Design Tools and Embedded Systems, were introduced to cover the wide range of topics. The technical program put together by the Program Chairs Prof. Kaushik Roy and Prof. Susmita Sur-Kolay included four keynote addresses, four invited plenary talks, two banquet speeches, and a panel discussion by eminent experts from the academia and industry. There were 97 regular papers, 16 short papers and 23 posters, along with 5 embedded tutorial presentations. On the fifth parallel track, an excellent industry forum program with vendor presentations and an embedded panel discussion was also very well appreciated. The tutorial program organized by Dr. Partha S. Dasgupta and Prof. Krishnendu Chakraborty had seven full-day tutorials and two half-day tutorials on emerging topics were found to be very beneficial by the 350 attendees. On the morning of January 3, Dr. Partha Pratim Das, Head of Engineering, Interra Systems and General Chair of the Conference welcomed the delegates. The Steering Committee Chair Prof. Vishwani D. Agrawal inaugurated the Conference. Sri Manab Mukherjee, Minister for Information Technology, Government of West Bengal graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and highlighted how Bengal is gearing up to the needs of the IT industry in general and to the technology industry like semiconductor in particular. This was followed by a visionary keynote The High Walls Have Crumpled by Prof. C. L. Liu of National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. In his characteristic charismatic style, Prof. Liu analyzed the silent glasnost that has been bringing down the high walls between various technological alternates. Dr. Bobby Mitra, MD of Texas Instruments, India and President of VLSI Society of India (VSI) then inaugurated the exhibition. The banquet speech in the evening by Mr. Richard Sevcik, Executive Vice President, Xilinx was on Comparison of FPGAs and ASICs for SoC applications.

Figure 1: Mr. Manab Mukherjee delivering the Chief Guest's Address (L to R: Prof. Rana Duttagupta, Dr. Partha Pratim Das, Dr. Sandip Kundu, Prof. Vishwani D Agrawal, Prof. Susmita Sur-Kolay & Prof. Kausik Roy)

Figure 2: Dr. G D Gautama welcomes ISA to West Bengal (L to R: Dr. Pradip Datta, Mr. Rajendra Kumar Khare, Mr. Manab Mukherjee, Dr. Vinod Agarwal) 16

VSI VISION August 2005 The second day of the Conference started with two very exciting keynote speeches. Mr. Ted Vucurevich, Vice President and CTO of Cadence talked on 65nm Omnibudsman and Mr. Alan Naumann, President and CEO, of CoWare explained the visions of his company through his talk titled ESL The Next Leadership Opportunity For India? Both lectures received a lot of acclaim from the audience. On the same evening, an energized Panel Discussion was held on Next Generation Design: Is EDA the Weakest Link? A seven-member panel debated on the future of EDA through a session that ran over the slotted time on popular demand. Keeping with the tradition, the Conference held its Awards Ceremony in the evening. Awards, instituted after pioneers of electronics research from Bengal Prof. A K Chaudhury and Prof. N N Biswas were given away for Best Paper and Best Student Paper. The Conference also named its award for the Best Design Contest Entry after Prof B R Nag. In spite of many a hero for the evening, the limelight certainly was stolen by Prof. C L Liu who was conferred the Life Time Achievement Award by the Conference for his contributions to Algorithms. Prof. Sudhakar M Reddy, the first recipient of this award, did the honors. The evening ended with a visionary presentation Moore's Law is Unconstitutional by Dr. Walden Rhines, CEO of Mentor Graphics. In a special early morning session on the third day of the Conference, the Ministry of IT, Govt. of West Bengal and Webel joined hands to actively welcome the Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA) - the newly formed society for the promotion of Semiconductor Industry in India. ISA launched its Technovation Initiative in collaboration with the Govt. of West Bengal. Explaining this initiative, Mr. Rajendra Kumar Khare, MD of Broadcom and Chairman of ISA spoke about the charter, goals, vision, and the implementation plan of ISA. ISA also announced that they would create a Patent-Fabric that will help send innovative ideas from Universities to get filed as patents; institute various awards and research grants. To achieve this objective, ISA will collaborate with various institutions and Government agencies. Mr. Manab Mukherjee, Minister for IT and Dr. G D Gautama, Principal Secretary of IT shared the views of the Government and welcomed the initiatives by ISA. The Technnovation launch was followed by an innovation packed keynote presentation VLSI Design Challenges for Gigascale Integration by Mr. Shekhar Y. Borkar, Intel Fellow, Intel Corp. The plenary lectures during the three days were on Configurable Processor the building block for SOC (SystemOn-a-Chip) by Ms. Beatrice Fu, Senior VP, Tensilica, Modeling Usable and Reusable Transctors in System Verilog by Mr. Janick Bergeron, Synopsys, Optimizing SoC Manufacturability by Dr. Yervant Zorian, Virage Logic and Complex Processor Architectures - The Verification Challenge by Mr. Sunil Kakkar, Freescale Semiconductor India Ltd. The conference was supported by various institutions including VLSI Society of India (VSI); Indian Statistical Institute; Council of Scientific & Industrial Research; Dept. of IT, Govt. of WB, IEEE Circuits & Systems Society; IEEE Solid State Circuits Society; IEEE Electron Devices Society and ACM SIG on Design Automation. Many companies provided financial help with Xilinx-CMC as the Platinum Sponsor; Cadence, Intel, Mentor, Synopsys & Texas Instruments as Gold Sponsors; Agere, Centillium, Coware, Infineoon, Natsem and Tensilica as Silver Sponsors; and Alliance Semiconductor, Interra Systems, Open-Silicon, TranSwitch, Virage Logic and Zenasis as Bronze Sponsors. Besides, BSNL, Alumnus Software and Rahul Commerce supported through infrastructure help. A technical exhibition had 26 companies and CAD research laboratories of academic showcasing their products and technologies in the booths.

Soft Errors are making design harder to do! Soft errors are also known as Single-event Upsets (SEU) in the literature. They are attributed to radiation caused by neutrons generated from cosmic rays and alpha particles from impurities in the packaging material. Soft errors will result in transient failures, which are hard to reproduce and debug. In the past, soft errors have been of importance for space electronics. However, in technologies such as 90nm and below, soft errors are more frequent. Similarly, in the past, designers have worried about soft errors in memory cells. Now, designers worry about soft errors in logic circuits as well. Some protective mechanisms that can be put in the design against soft errors include error correction coding and redundancy.


A particle strike

++n channel +- +p substrate



VSI VISION August 2005

Workshop on Specification and Design Methodologies for Adaptive and Embedded Systems
Bangalore, January 11-14, 2005 Dr. Subramanian Pattamadai Sitaraman, Senior Consultant, Tata Consultancy Services A three day Workshop on Specification and Design Methodologies for Adaptive and Embedded Systems was held at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore during January 11-14,2005. It was jointly organized by the Computer Society of India (CSI), WG1.3 of TC1 of International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) and Department of Computer Science and Automation of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). The sponsors were Tata Consultancy Services, General Motors, Polyspace Software and VLSI Society of India. The theme of the workshop was based on the following observations: Computing systems of earlier decades were local and universal: Computer centres located in a fixed ambient serving a variety of users. Advances in Telecommunication and VLSI technologies have enabled the development of a new class of computing systems, which are Global and Embedded. Globality means that the same system may be required to operate in different ambient. This may require features of Adaptivity at the behavioral level and Reconfigurability at the architectural level. Embedded systems, on the other hand, have to operate under hard performance constraints. These features of current computing systems need a careful consideration of their associated Specifications and Design Methodologies.

Speakers at this Workshop were drawn from the practicing professionals and members of IFIP WG 1.3. The idea was to bring the industrial professionals and the academicians together for a better appreciation of the challenges in the industrial deployment of design and verification methodologies based on formal techniques. After in initial Overview and Goals of the Workshop by P.S. Subramanian (TCS) the Workshop featured talks and events in the following categories: Industrial Views Verification and Validation: The Industrial view N.H. Sathyaraja, GM R&D Verification aspects in VLSI Design Methodologies P. Venugopal, Texas Instruments India Adaptivity in Telecom P.S. Subramanian, TCS, Bangalore Performance Evaluation of Systems Pradeep Desai, Philips India Continuous Engineering of Automotive Systems Martin Grosse Rhode, Fraunhoffer Institute Design Methodologies Algebraic Specification techniques CASL Methodology Till Mossakowski, Lutz Schrder (University of Bremen) and Andrzej Tarlecki (Warsaw University) Interactive Verification of System Models with CafeOBJ Kokichi Futatsugi (JAIST) Design Notations Guidelines for understanding system requirements Christine Choppy (Universit Paris XIII) UML and OWL Pierre Yves Schobbens (University of Namur) Proof based Development Incremental proof-based development of systems and SoC verification Dominique Mery (Universit Henri Poincar) Talks on specific topics Formal Design of GALS Systems S.Ramesh (GM R&D Bangalore and IIT.Mumbai) Formal Methods for Smart Cards Bart Jacobs, (University of Nijmegen) Architectures for Distribution and Mobility Jose Luiz Fiadeiro (University of Leicester)

Panel Discussion Challenges in Industrial Deployment of Formal Methods Panelists: Sathyaraja, Ramesh (GM), Bart Jacobs (Univ. of Nijmegen), Martin Grosse Rhode (Franhaufer Inst) Moderator: P.S. Subramanian (TCS) The Workshop also featured a public talk on R&D at TCS by Prof. Mathai Joseph, TRDDC.


VSI VISION August 2005

Workshop on Recent Advances in Memory Technology, Design and Test: A Report

C.P.Ravikumar VSI organized a two-day workshop on Recent Advances in Memory Technology, Design, and Test during January 10-11, 2005. The workshop was held in co-operation with IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (Bangalore Chapter) at Hotel Central Park, Bangalore. The event attracted 65 participants, most of who were from the industry besides some faculty from several Engineering colleges across the country. Sreedhar Natarajan during his presentation The topics covered in the workshop included: Static RAM Architectures by Sreedhar Natarajan, Director for embedded Memory development at MoSys Incorporated, Ottawa, CANADA. DRAM Architectures by Sreedhar Natarajan. Low Power Memories by C.P.Ravikumar, Texas Instruments Recent Advances in Memory Test by Nilanjan Mukherjee, Engineering Manager in the Design, Verification and Test , Mentor Graphics, USA. High Performance, Low-power, Embedded Memories Sreedhar Natarajan Ultra Low Power Embedded Ferroelectric Memory for SOC and MRAM Technology and Circuits by Sreedhar Natarajan Flash Memories by Jayanta Lahiri, Alliance Semiconductors. Universal Memory for SoCs, Semiconductor Memory Market, Chalcogenide Memories and Emerging Memory Technologies by Sreedhar Natarajan

Jayanta Lahiri, Alliance Semiconductor, speaking at the workshop The delegates interacted with the speakers in an informal environment. The CD, which includes the presentations made at the workshop, is available from VSI. For details, write to


VSI VISION August 2005

Workshop on Low Power Design Techniques: A Report

C.P.Ravikumar VSI held a two-day workshop on Low power Design Techniques during February 25-26, 2005. The workshop was conducted in co-operation with IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (Bangalore Chapter), and IEEE Electron Devices and Solid State Circuits Society. The venue was the Golden Jubilee Hall, ECE Dept, IISc - Bangalore. The workshop featured a wide range of reputed speakers. Dr Surendra Pal, Chairman of the IEEE Bangalore Section. Dr Pal expressed happiness over such an event being organized in Bangalore. The workshop had the following topics: Dr. Christian Piguet delivering his talk Day-1 Session-1: System-level Power Optimization by Dr. Bharadwaj Amruthur, Assistant Professor, Department of ECE, IISc., Bangalore. Session-2: Ensuring Power Integrity: Analysis and Closure Challenges by Kalpesh Shah, Texas Instruments, India Session-3: Novel Device Architectures and Processes for the 65 nm CMOS Technology Node and Beyond by Dr. V. Ramgopal Rao, IIT Bombay Session-4: Ultralow Power Subthreshold Analog CMOS Design for Neural Network Application by Dr Navakanta Bhat, IISc., Bangalore. Session-5: Ultra Low-Power Design by Chandrashekhar Kypa and Christoph Heer, Infineon Technologies. Day-2 Session-6: Leakage Reduction in Low-Voltage Embedded RAMs by Dr. Kiyoo Itoh, Hitatchi, Japan. Session-7: Techniques for Low-Power Design by C.P. Ravikumar, Texas Instruments India. Session-8: Energy-Aware Software Design by Dr. Y.N. Srikant, IISc Bangalore. Session-9: Leakage and Total Power Reduction at the Architectural Level by Dr. Christian Piguet, CSEM, Switzerland. The workshops were attended by 122 participants, consisting of research scholars, faculty, industry professionals, and students. Several invitees were also present at the workshop, such as Dr P.V. Anandmohan (President, IEEE CAS Society, Bangalore Chapter), Dr P.R. Suresh (President, IEEE EDS Society, Bangalore Chapter), Dr Raghunathan Kuppuswamy (President, CPMT Bangalore Chapter), and Prof. Amara Amara of ISEP France. The feedback for the workshop was excellent and the participants expressed the need for more such workshops. The informal environment of the workshop and the speakers involvement with the audience was highly appreciated. The proceedings of the workshop in CD format is available from VSI. Write to for details.


VSI VISION August 2005

VLSI Education Workshop: A Report

Jaipur, March 8 12, 2005 Prof. Vineet Sahula, MNIT Jaipur A five-day intensive workshop on VLSI Education was organized in the Pink City of India during March 2005. This is the third in the series of annual workshops being held in Jaipur, starting December 2002. The VLSI Society of India and MNIT Jaipur jointly sponsored the workshop. Thirty-six faculty members and post-graduate students participated in the event. The workshop comprised of 16 short tutorials, four lab-sessions; and a work session on Industry & Academia: Mutual Expectations and Collaboration. The tutorials were delivered by eminent experts from academia, industry and research institutes such as IIT Delhi, DA-IICT, SJCE Mysore, Engineering College of Udaipur, Texas Instruments, CoWare, Cadence, e-InfoChips, STMicroelectronics, CEERI Pilani and MNIT Jaipur. The tutorials covered various issues concerning Design, Test and Verification. Day-1: Prof. R. Sharan of LNMIIT Jaipur inaugurated the workshop. Prof. M. Balakrishnan of IIT Delhi delivered a talk on Application-Specific Instruction Processors. Dr. Kolin Paul of IIT Delhi delivered a talk on Designing with FPGA platforms- Challenges and opportunities. Dr. Manoj Jain of Egineering College (Udaipur) talked on ASIP Design Space Exploration, followed by talks on Behavioral Synthesis and high level test synthesis by Dr. M. S. Gaur (MNIT, Jaipur), System-on-package by Dr. S. K. Bhatnagar (MNIT, Jaipur), and Layout design & Circuit simulation by Dr. S. C. Bose of CEERI Pilani. Day-2: Prof. D. Nagchoudhuri of DA-IICT, Gandhinagar, delivered talks on CMOS Analog IC and IC Manufacturing. Megha Chaitanya of ST-Microelectronics discussed Programmable hardware & software platforms. Two lab sessions were organized on CMOS Circuit simulation and Layout design. Day-3: Prof. C. R. Venugopal of SJCE Mysore discussed VLSI architectures for DSP. Mr. Sanjay Chakravarty of CoWare presented a talk on Embedded Software development in the Platform context. Mr. Deepak Sabharwal of Virage Logic talked about Memory Compilers. Mr. Pranav Joshi delivered a talk on HVLs in SoC verfication followed by a talk from Dr. Atanendu Mandal of CEERI Pilani on Designing an Embedded Processor: Specifications to Implementation. Dr. V. Sahula of MNIT Jaipur delivered a talk on Logic optimization and Technology mapping. Day-4: Dr. Chandrashekhar, Director, CEERI Pilani, delivered a talk on VLSI Design Methodology: Traditional Approaches and Digital Circuit Verification & Simulation. It was followed by a talk on Semiconductor Device Modeling by Prof. S. Sancheti of MNIT Jaipur. Two lab sessions, one on HDL based verification and another on FPGA implementation, were held in the afternoon. The CAD tools used in the course included the HDL simulator & FPGA synthesis tool from Mentor Graphics, Layout design and simulation tool from Tanner Inc. Day-5: C. P. Ravikumar of Texas Instruments delivered two talks on Design for testability, with emphasis on techniques for test data volume reduction. This was followed by a talk by Mr. Shishir Gupta of Cadence on Creating nanometer electronics profitably. Mr. D. Boolchandani of MNIT Jaipur delivered a talk on Analog Synthesis approaches. The workshop moderated by Dr. C.P. Ravikumar, Secretary, VSI concluded with a work session involving live participation from the audience, Notes from this work session are available. A report on this work session appears in the Debate section of VSI VISION. The venue of the workshop was the Hotel Clarks Amer, whose excellent hospitality, coupled with the excellent weather in Jaipur during early March, added value to workshop. The participants benefited from live interactions with speakers experts during the breaks. Based on the positive feedback from the audience, there is a plan to continue the workshops in the following year. The proceedings of the workshop are available in the form of a CD. Interested persons must contact Dr. Vineet Sahula, MNIT, Jaipur, for details.


VSI VISION August 2005

Short-term Training Program on Advanced VLSI Design: A Report

Pune, April 18-23, 2005 Prof. Makrand B. Kale, SKNCOE, Pune VSI co-sponsored a week-long course on Advanced VLSI Design at Smt.Kashibai Navale College of Engineering, Pune from April 18-23, 2005. The intention of the course was to provide an introduction to topics in VLSI Design to teachers from neighboring colleges. The course covered the following topics: Day-1 Dr. Rajendra Dattar of Sasken, Pune, delivered a keynote talk on Challenges in VLSI Design. Prof. Makrand B. Kale, SKNCOE-Pune, delivered a tutorial on Hardware Description using VHDL language. Prof. V.Ramagopal Rao of IIT, Bombay delivered a tutorial on Scaling in CMOS Technology. Day-2 Mr. Rakesh Mehta of Bitmapper, Pune, delivered a lecture on Design Methodology. Prof. Makrand B. Kale continued the tutorial on Hardware Description using VHDL language. A hands-on practical session on VHDL was conducted by Bitmapper. Day-3 Mr. Madhukant Patel, of eInfochips, Pune, delivered a talk on Verification of VLSI Systems. Mr. Rakesh Mehta, Bitmapper, Pune, delivered a talk on Embedded Systems and FPGA. Mr. B.Lokesh, United Technologies, Bangalore, delivered a talk on VLSI Design. Day-4 Dr. Shaila Subbaraman, WCE-Sangli, delivered a talk on CMOS VLSI. Dr. M.B. Srinivas, IIIT-Hyderabad, delivered a talk on Mixed Signal Design Methodology. A hands-on practical session on FPGA design was conducted by Bitmapper. Day-5 Mr. S.V. Natu, Nital Computer Systems Ltd-Pune, delivered a talk on Signal Integrity Issues. Dr. Shaila Subbaraman, WCE-Sangli, delivered a talk on FPGA Architectures for Active Neaural Networks. A hands-on practical session on FPGA design was conducted by Bitmapper Day-6 Mr. Ram Joonavithula, Texas Instruments India, delivered a talk on Fault Modeling and DFT. Mr. Sachin Nalbalwar, Nevis Networks-Pune, delivered a talk on High Speed Design Issues. A valedictory function concluded the week-long course. A total 35 participants from various colleges and institutions of Maharashtra attended the course and gave a positive feedback on all aspects. Prof. Makrand B. Kale coordinated the whole event with an Organizing committee comprising Prof. Santosh K. Patil, Prof. Sujatha A. Agrawal and Rakhi P. Ghugardare. The Technical Program Committee was constituted by Dr. C.P. Ravikumar, Texas Instruments India, Dr. Rajendra Dattar, Sasken-Pune, Madhukant Patel, eInfochips-Pune and Rakesh Mehta, Bitmapper-Pune. The event had the patronage of Prof. M.N. Navale, founderpresident of STE Society, Prof. N.B. Pasalkar, Director Technical Education, Mumbai, the senior members of STE Society and Prof. P.W. Wani, Joint Director, DTE, Mumbai. The proceedings of the course are captured in a CD; interested persons must contact Dr. Makarand Kale for details.


VSI VISION August 2005

VLSI Education Workshop: A Report

Mysore, May 9 - 14, 2005 Dr. C.R.Venugopal, SJCE, Mysore An intensive two-week workshop on VLSI Education was organized exclusively for faculty and postgraduate engineering students at SJCE, Mysore during May 24 to June 5, 2004. The workshop was sponsored by the VLSI Society of India and cosponsored by Agere Systems India, IEEE Chapter of SJCE, Mysore, IEEE Solid State Devices and Circuits Society Bangalore Chapter. The objective of the workshop was to expose the participants to state-of-the-art VLSI technology and design methodologies. The technical program included tutorials from experts in the field, hands-on lab sessions, tool demonstrations and discussions. The following topics were covered in the tutorials: VLSI systems and Architecture, including Computer Architecture and DSP system architecture Analog VLSI Design Digital VLSI Design Mixed signal VLSI Design CAD tools for VLSI circuits Testing and Verification A total 23 faculty members from Maharashatra (NIIT, Pune), V.R. Siddhartha Engineering College (Vijayawada, AP), Christ College (Bangalore), Amritha Institute of Technology & Science (Coimbatore, TN), University of Mysore, Malnad Engineering College (Hassan), KSIT (Bangalore), Sri Venkateshwara College of Engineering (Tamil Nadu), VJIT (Mumbai) participated. In addition, 29 postgraduate students from Pune, and Mysore attended the workshop. Day-1: The workshop was inaugurated by Dr Karthik, Analog Devices who emphasized the need of such workshops. His keynote talk addressed the VLSI Design and the associated challenges. Dr Navakanta Bhat, Indian Institute of Science, conducted a tutorial on Custom VLSI Design Flow. Day-2: Mr. Ramanujam spoke on Analog Circuit Design. Prof. K. Radhakrishna Rao, IIT Madras, gave a tutorial on Analog Design. Day-3: Dr. C.P. Ravikumar, Texas Instruments India, gave a talk on CAD tools for VLSI Circuits. Mr. Ram Jonnavithula of Texas Instruments talked on Testing of Integrated Circuits and Design-for-Test. Mr. Bilas Dutta of Texas Instruments India spoke on the topic Physical Design Flows. Day-4: Dr. J. Kuruvilla Verghese, CEDT, Indian Institute of Science gave a talk on FPGA Design using VHDL. Day-5: Dr. Ashok Rao, Indian Institute of Science gave a talk on DSP Architectures, Dr. C.R. Venugopal, SJCE, Mysore, gave a talk on computer architecture. During the lab sessions, the participants were exposed to the use of public domain software tools such as SPICE and MAGIC. They also had the opportunity to use tools for FPGA-based VLSI design. Several EDA companies, including Synopsys, India demonstrated their VLSI design related software. The workshop proved a fertile ground for useful interaction among the faculty and postgraduate students from all over the country. There was an enthusiastic feedback, stressing the need for more such workshops on a regular basis in different parts of the country. Dr.C.R. Venugopal of SJCE, Mysore, coordinated the workshop.


VSI VISION August 2005

National Workshop on Embedded Systems: A Report

Thanjavur, May 09-11, 2005 Prof. Usha Devi, Coordinator, TIFAC-CORE VSI was a technical cosponsor for a National Workshop on Embedded Systems organized by TIFAC-CORE at Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA) in association with IEEE EDS & MTT (India chapter) and Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Govt. of India, Hewlett Packard India. The three-day workshop was held during May 09-11, 2005. Dr.Girish Chandra of Tata Consultancy Services inaugurated the Workshop. He focused on Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) Codes and explained the key applications of these new technologies in Embedded systems. Day-1: Dr.K.Neelakandan spoke on Low Power Embedded System Design Considerations. Guru Prasad Athani, Infosys, Bangalore, spoke on Paradigm changes in Audio/Video Compression. He also shared his thoughts on MPEG video format and its encoding details. Mr. Kevin Dsouza, Microsoft, delivered a speech on Embedded Computing with Win CE and .NET. Applied Digital Microsystems Limited from Mumbai demonstrated the Universal In-Circuit Emulator for Microcontroller. Day-2: Prof. K.Usha Devi delivered a talk on Security Issues in Embedded systems. Ms. Balagunapriya, i Wave Systems, Bangalore, talked about the Building blocks and the essential features of Embedded Systems. Mr. G. Samabasiva Rao, CDAC, delivered a speech on Open source security framework. A talk on DSP, Micro-controller, & Convergence in Embedded System was given by Dr. L.R.Rajagopal, SANDS Instrumentation Pvt Ltd, Chennai. This was followed by a talk on Hardware Software codesign and testing. Demonstrations conducted by SANDS Instrumentation related to Embedded VLSI: Integrated Testing using Microcontrollers in the Embedded systems Lab. Dr. K.S.Chari of MICT spoke on Design and development of an SoC embedded system for a Digital Hearing Aid and followed it with a talk on Nano Technolgy. Day-3: A talk on Development Practices for Quality/Healthy Systems with XP was given by Uppili Srinivasan, HCL Technologies, Chennai. This was followed by a talk on Embedded System design for Industries by Sri N.R. Ramesh of Bharath Electronics limited, Bangalore. A talk on Selection Criteria for Microcontrollers and adaptation to Automotive Controllers was given by Mr. R. Krishnamurthy, Pricol Limited , Coimbatore. A panel discussion, with Dr. K.S.Chari as the chair, and Dr L R Rajagopal, Mr. N.R. Ramesh, and Prof.K. Usha Devi as panelists, highlighted the Future of Embedded Systems and suggested Industry/ Academic interaction for useful output and recommended a revised curriculum with timely input from industries for making the graduates readily employable. The panel stressed the importance of students coming up with entrepreneurship ideas in developing applications for the rural, agricultural, and entertainment applications and encouraged them to bring out their designs into prototype models. Attended by 108 students and faculty and 13 Industry delegates, the workshop was a success with a fruitful interaction of industry, academia and Government representatives. The proceedings of the workshop are available in the form of a CD. Interested persons must contact Prof. Usha Devi of TIFAC-CORE for details.


VSI VISION August 2005

The National Workshop on Challenges in VLSI (NWCV) 2005: A Report

DA-IICT, Gandhinagar Gujarat, May 13 and 14, 2005 Prof.Hemangee Kapoor, DA-IICT, Gujrat

The National Workshop on Challenges in VLSI (NWCV) 2005 was held on May 13 and 14 2005 at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Website: The workshop was targeted at faculty and students of 4th year and above interested in VLSI. The workshop had two parallel themes: Day-1: Analog and Mixed Signal Design Design considerations for CMOS amplifiers by Dr. Dinesh Sharma, IIT Bombay Current research in D-to-A Converters by Dr. Chetan Parikh, DA-IICT Continuous Time Filter Design by Dr. Shanthi Pavan, IIT Madras Day01: Testing and Formal Verification Introduction to Formal Verification by Dr.P.P. Chakrabarti, IIT Kharagpur Mathematical Logic by Dr. Kalpesh Kapoor, DA-IICT Model Checking by Dr. Supratik Chakraborty,IIT Bombay Process Calculi for Concurrent Systems by Dr. Hemangee Kapoor, DA-IICT Formal Verification using the IITD-Concurrency Workbench by Dr. S. Arun Kumar, IIT Delhi Day-2: Analog and Mixed Signal Design Current Issues in Mixed-signal Design by Mr. Tapas Nandy, ST Microelectronics Current-mode Analog Design by Mr. Debashis Dutta, MCIT Substrate Noise Analysis for Mixed-Signal SOCs by Mr. S. Jairam, Texas Instruments India A-to-D Converters by Dr. G. Viswesaran, IITD Day-2: Testing and Formal Verification Testing of Digital System-on-Chip,SoC by Dr. Indranil Sengupta, IIT Kharagpur Formal Verification in Industry by Dr. Subir Roy, Texas Instruments Recent developments in Design-for-Test by Dr. C.P. Ravikumar, Texas Instruments India The Workshop concluded with a Panel Discussion: Future Challenges for VLSI Education and Research in India. The panelists included Dr. Dinesh Sharma (IIT Bombay), Dr. D. Nagchoudhuri (DA-IICT), Dr. C.P. Ravikumar (Texas Instruments), Dr. Indranil Sengupta (IIT Kharagpur), Dr. G.S. Visweswaran (IIT Delhi), and Dr. Tapan Dutta (ST Microelectronics). The vote of thanks was given by Prof. Ashok Amin, DA-IICT. The response to the workshop was extremely good. A total of 90 delegates attended the workshop, of whom 28 were faculty and 62 were students. According to the delegate feedback, 15 out of 16 speakers were rated by at least one delegate as one of the best two speakers. Dr. Chetan Parikh and Dr. Hemangee Kapoor were responsible for the technical planning and organization of the two sessions respectively. The organizing committee involved Prof. D. Nagchoudhuri (Chairman), Dr.Hemangee Kapoor (Secy), Prof Ashok Amin (Treas), Prof R.N. Biswas, Dr. Chetan Parikh, Dr. Amit Bhatt and Dr. Anil Roy. The external sponsors included VSI Society, IEEE Gujarat Section, Natsem, Intel, GUJCOST and GVFL.


VSI VISION August 2005

Custom LSI Design Workshop: A Report

Manipal, June 6-18, 2005 S. Mahant Shetti, KARMIC, Manipal VSI and KARMIC jointly sponsored a workshop on Custom LSI Design for faculty and students from Engineering Colleges. The aim of the workshop was to select a limited number of faculty and students from the same college and train them in the use of public domain tools for VLSI CAD. In particular, the focus of the workshop was to use MAGIC and SPICE for custom-designing reasonably large circuits. The aim was also to encourage students and faculty to come up with good design decisions. Judicious algorithmic approximations can provide great advantages in chip area, speed and power. Numerous approximate solutions exist for a problem compared to the optimum solution; engineering judgment is vital in selecting the appropriate solution. The focus of the workshop was to explore VLSI friendly algorithmic approximations and realize them in a design. Forty selected participants, ranging from second semester students to a head of the Electronics and Communications department in an Engineering college attended the workshop. The participants were divided into two groups to carry out two separate projects. The first group included 24 persons and the goal of this group was to design a chip for Euclidean distance calculation. Although the problem looks deceptively simple, the key was to come up with approximations to the square root function that yield low-area designs. The second group of 16 members considered the problem of generating two PWM current waveforms, where one is proportional to sine and the other cosine of a given input. Once again, approximation techniques were necessary to generate the sine and cosine functions. The emphasis of the first project was to consider speed/area tradeoff; in the second project, minimizing area was the primary goal. Leaf cells were generated for the data path in each of the projects, Bit-slice routing was done and toplevel routing was completed. Only public domain tools, Open Office Calc, MAGIC and SPICE were used. The participants were also trained on installation of these tools so that they can establish a similar environment in their parent institutions. The entire workshop was primarily hands-on, and lectures were held on demand from the participants. The concluding function had expert lectures by Dr Navakant Bhat and Dr. Narasimha Bhat, chaired by Dr. S J Bhat. Project groups made their presentations in the afternoon of the concluding day. The coastal city of Manipal, otherwise prone to constant rain, surprisingly remained dry, adding to the success of the workshop. The schedule for the projects was hectic and the demanded total involvement from the participans. Between the two projects, one made better progress compared to the other. The participants were urged to take up improvements to their design at their own parent institutions. The projects will also be presented at the VLSI Design and Test Symposium, Bangalore. Here are some statistics on one of the projects to indicate the level of effort needed to do a reasonable job*: Estimate of average time spent by about 50% of the team 18hrs/day Estimate of average time spent by remaining members 4 hrs/day Number of transistors in the design 3500 Number of Unique Transistors 300 Area of the design (0.35um TSMC CMOS technology) 0.3mm^2 Size of SPICE file 1 MB Size of Mag (Magic internal format) file 250KB *Some members of the group are continuing the work since they are not happy with the results. It will probably take another two learning cycles to get proper transistor sizing done and more detailed simulations completed. Note from the VLSI Society of India: We thank the tireless efforts from Dr. Mahaht Shetti and his colleagues at KARMIC for making this unique experiment in VLSI Education possible. KARMIC also generously hosted the participants in Manipal during the course of the workshop.


VSI VISION August 2005

2nd VLSI Embedded Systems DSP Applications Seminar - VEDAS 2005: A Report
July 1-2, 2005, Sona College of Technology, Salem N.J.R. Muniraj, Sona College of Technology, Salem VSI was a co-sponsor for the second two-day Seminar on VLSI Embedded Systems DSP Applications (VEDAS 2005). The seminar was jointly sponsored by Sona VEDIC, Department of ECE, Sona College of Technology, Salem. The event was held in cooperation with the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, Bangalore Chapter, IEEE Student Chapter, Sona College of Technology and IEEE TTTC (Asia South Pacific Region). Day - 1 Soft Errors in FPGA by Prof. V. Kamakoti, IIT Madras VLSI in Industry & Academia Bridging the Gap by Srinivasan Venkataraman, Synopsys Advanced VLSI Signal Processing by N.J.R. Muniraj, Sona College of Technology SOC Design with MEMS by Navkanta Bhat, IISc,Bangalore The last session included presentations of submitted papers. Day-2 Recent Advances in VLSI Test by C. P. Ravikumar, Texas Instruments Leakage Power in DSM VLSI - Sources and Solutions by Rahul Kumar, National Semiconductors Verification of Present Day SOCs by Vishal Dalal, Sasken DSP Architectures by Soujana Sarkar, Texas Instruments Trends and Opportunities in Semiconductor Disk Drives by V. Ranganathan, Sathyam, Chennai Embedded for Telecommunication, Automotive, Enterprise Server Computing Applications by Chandravel Sankarakumar, Sanmina, Bangalore The seminar concluded with a Valedictory Function. The event was attended by 120 participants, including faculty and students from Engineering colleges and industrial professionals. As can be expected, the majority of the participants came from Tamil Nadu. However, there were also several participants from Karnataka, Kerala, and West Bengal. The feedback from the participants was excellent.


VSI VISION August 2005

B.Tech Curriculum - Feedback from VLSI Industry

What does the Indian Semiconductor Industry think about the Engineering curriculum? VSI VISION decided to ask some distinguished members of the Indian semiconductor industry this question. We sent a questionnaire to several companies and obtained a good response. Here is a summary of our findings. VSI VISION: Are fundamentals not sufficiently emphasized in the B.Tech Curriculum? About 50% of our respondents felt that such is the case. One respondent felt that B.Tech (EE) must be taken off and replaced with an Integrated M.Tech at least for those who plan a career in VLSI design. The suggested list of topics that need to be emphasized includes Digital Logic Design fundamentals and Concepts of circuit timing. VSI VISION: Do you think that B.Tech curriculum should emphasize soft skills? Again, the opinion on this issue seems to be divided. About 40% of the respondents felt the need to emphasize communication skills, leadership, and teamwork at the B.Tech level. The remaining respondents did not feel the need one respondent felt that such an emphasis is not important at B.Tech level. VSI VISION: Is exposure to UNIX and Linux crucial at B.Tech level to pursue a career in VLSI? An overwhelming majority did not think so. One respondent wrote that it is sufficient to have exposure on concepts of Operating Systems. Almost all respondents seemed to be satisfied with the level of computer skills of the B.Tech students they were hiring. VSI VISION: Are you satisfied with the way B.Tech projects are executed? Should project execution skills be emphasized? About 30% of the respondents felt dissatisfied, while others had no opinion on this topic. Those who felt dissatisfaction expressed the need to improve project execution skills at B.Tech level. VSI VISION: Do the B.Tech students you have been hiring have exposure to VLSI Design through a formal course? Do you feel the need for such a course? About 70% of the respondents said that students did not have such a course and expressed the need for one. One respondent felt that there may not be enough room in a B.Tech curriculum for such a course - Where is the time to do all? I believe specialization should come out of the Masters program. VSI VISION: If you could make a wish list of elective courses that a B.Tech student should take, what would it look like? We got a mixed bag of responses Device and VLSI fundamentals, Digital Design Fundamentals, Projects on digital designs with complex state machines and concepts of verification, Data Structures and Algorithms, Optimization Techniques, Work Culture and Communication, Digital and Analog ICs, VLSI Design that emphasizes logic design and verification, Low-power Design, Process Technology, Electronic Design Automation, A course to emphasize DSM effects such as signal integrity, IR Drop, and timing closure VSI VISION: What are some of the things that can be done to improve the quality of B.Tech education? Some of the suggestions included: Stress on fundamentals in physics and CMOS circuits Strengthen mathematic skills Projects that are relevant to current industrial practices Stress on fundamentals in data structures and algorithms and optimization techniques Reduce one course in final year and make the project work more challenging Allow final year students to intern/co-op with industries during their project work Make the exam formats more multiple-choice and practice-oriented too much theory being thrown at students without practical exposure. VSI VISION thanks all the respondents for their valuable time. Thanks are also due to the Indian Semiconductor Association for forwarding the questionnaire to its members. In the next issue, we will summarize the responses we got on M.Tech curriculum. Meanwhile, if you wish to react to the results of the survey, please write an e-mail to the Editor. If you are from the industry and wish to voice your opinion about the M.Tech curriculum, write to and we can forward the questionnaire to you.


VSI VISION August 2005

Becoming a member of VDAT mailing list

The vdat mailing list was started on June 26, 2000 to coordinate the VLSI Design and Test Workshops of 2000. The mailing list is also being used to disseminate information about the activities of the VLSI Society of India and other professional societies such as IEEE. You can become a member of the mailing list by visiting the site . At the bottom of the page, you have the option of subscribing or unsubscribing to the list. Please enter your correct e-mail address. It may take a couple of days before your request gets approved. You can post messages of relevance to the mailing list examples include Call for Papers for activities directly related to VLSI. Please note that this mailing list is not a discussion forum. Your messages will be moderated before they are released to the list.

Conducting VSI Events

The VLSI SOCIETY OF INDIA encourages VLSI professionals to organize seminars, workshops, tutorials, conferences/symposia in India. VSI can either be a sponsor/cosponsor for the event along with other professional societies. VSI can also be a technical sponsor/cosponsor. To receive a sponsorship (in part or full) from VSI, you must submit a proposal using the format below. This must be mailed to the secretary of VSI at least 6 months before the event is conducted. Please note that the funds provided by VSI are expected to be returned at the conclusion of the event along with (a) an audited statement of the expenses incurred (b) excess funds after all expenses have been paid for The budget must include both income and expense estimates. Income will be mainly through registration and any corporate sponsorships. Expenses must be shown under categories such as Proceedings, Registration Kits, Lunch, etc.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Name of the event: Type of the event: (Conference/ Symposium/ Workshop/ Tutorial/ Other [Please Specify] ) Is this a continuing event or a one-time event? Goals of the event: (If you have a website for the event, provide the URL) Expected number of participants: General Chair of the event: (Name and Affiliation) Contact Details for the General Chair: (Provide e-mail address, full mailing address, telephone and FAX) Program Chair and Program Committee: (Give the names of at least two members along with their contact details) Finance Chair with contact details: Budget (attach Excel Sheet): Percentage Sponsorship Expected from VSI (50% or higher) Do you need support for managing the technical program of the event? (Yes/No. If yes, provide the name and email contact of the event manager who will be responsible for the event. This person will have electronic access to all the documents submitted to the event.) Support Documents (Recommendations from Head of the Department/renowned persons in VLSI area, Feedback from past events, etc.) Any other information you would like to provide


VSI VISION August 2005

Cool Vision

Lateral Thinking
By C.P. Ravikumar If you are a fan of Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code, these puzzles will interest you. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Look at each of the pictures below and guess what well known phrase they represent. I will solve a couple of them for you to get you started. Example 1: Example 2:

Look closely, and you may recognize Reverse Engineering.

Since Sh is Shell in Unix, you might be able to decipher this as In a Nut Shell.

OK, now you are on your own! Have fun guessing the answers. Put your knowledge of Mathematic and Engineering to good use!!

Puzzle 1:

Puzzle 2:

B + B B + B
Puzzle 5: Puzzle 4:

Puzzle 3:

lim z0

s (y)

1+ z

1 (1 + tan tan )

Answers on Page 32


VSI VISION August 2005 Answers to CROSSWORD! PUZZLE 2

Published in VSI Newsletter of January 2005






























22 20














CLUES ACROSS 3. A little push to the right, and you may be down by half? (5) 5. The natural form of silicon (4) 7. Grab the data and lock the door! (5) 8. Stop! the device cried, but its cry was truncated at the end! (8) 9. What a professor in a hurry would compress the circuits into? (4) 10. When you are going to get a bite, may be you should get 512! (4) 11. The Noble man who started it all for the IC industry! (4, 5) 12. The memory of a Hindu God? 14. How do you explain a signal not arriving when it is supposed to? (6,7) 15. A tiny attachment to mark something, including the price! (3) 16. Do this when the condition fails (4, 2) 20. A bus you take to get a management degree (4) 21. Pulse code modulation (3) 23. A place to hold the signature f a number of people? (4) 24. A lot of integrated circuits! (3) 26. Funny fellow - he offered a lot of resistance when I tried to give him a raise! (4,2) 27. The best part is, it can test itself! (4) 28. The input pin that shifts in test data (4,2) 1. 2.

CLUES DOWN The reason why the time piece began to shake? (5, 6) Why is this low-power circuit design style not moving? (6, 4) 5. What are these test channels doing in the cricket field? (6) 6. What Keats wrote for Princess Diana became a nonlinear device? (5) 8. The engagement gift that Ms. I.O. received? (2,4) 12. What did the logic synthesis expert do again to get the timing right? (6) 13. An activity common to birds and copper? (9) 17. Its strictly either you or me we cannot both say yes, we cannot both say no. (4) 18. What you might do to a signal thats feeling hot, may be? (6) 19. A clock generator? (4) 22. Some people say this is meaningless information from pushy salesmen who rattle off performance numbers for computers! (4) 23. Shows you the way to logic optimization, perhaps! (3) 25. An abbreviated stay to do analyze timing paths? (3) 26. A unit of time for writing a postscript? (2) 29. Number of states in tristate logic (5) 30. What is causing the delay in Mr. Input getting a raise? (4)



1 2 3 4 5 6

10 12 13 14 16 19 20 17


15 18

21 22 23 24 25



Clues Across 1. DRAM feels a BIT better after this? (7, 5) 7. What most CAD tools search for (7) 8. A very big jolt in a very short interval of time? (7) 10. A listing of a program in small font can be called this? (9) 12. Real estate (4) 13. His famous rule has more to do with interconnect than with monthly payment to your landlord (4) 14. The microprocessor close to your hand, perhaps (3) 16. Turn this on to get data out (2) 20. In the race, data arrived later than clock (5,9) 22. After the bias reached this value, the diode opened its gate (5) 23. What has cooling of Aluminum got to do with optimization? (9) 24. The interface for the application programmer is all reversed (3) 25. Even the recipe for the CPU is not complete without the humble vegetable (3) 26. The question and answer rigmarole for the circuit? (4) 27. After this, you simply remember where you came from and go back (3) Answers to Lateral thinking: Puzzle 1: To be or not to be, thats the question Puzzle 2: Work under pressure Puzzle 3: Plug and Play Puzzle 4: Root Cause Puzzle 5: Sky is the limit

Clues Down 1. The very origin of the nasty four-sided figure (4,4,6) 2. Although touted as unipolar, this switch has three terminals! (3) 3. The point of origin of carriers (6) 4. Nor used world-wide (9,5) 5. The delayed Australian bird useful in verification (7) 6. What they call ground in diagrams (3) 9. What UV light can do to your memory? (5) 11. Multiply and accumulate in reversible logic? (3) 15. The Z in circuit theory (9) 17. The package that tasted a drink? (3) 18. A stubborn wire can act that way, causing problems (4,2) 19. Heed not what the value is (4,4) 21. What is the skinny male cow doing in my chip? (6)


VSI VISION August 2005

Guidelines to Submitting Authors

The initial submissions must be made in WORD or PDF format. Papers must adhere to the following guidelines: The paper must not have been submitted to other forums for publication. The paper must be original work of the submitting authors. Top and bottom margin = 1.5 inch, Left and right margin = 1 inch Single column Text - 10 point Times-Roman font, double space format Title 14 point Times-Roman font Author names, affiliations, Contact address and e-mail 12 point Times-Roman font Abstract 10 point Times-Roman font. The abstract must highlight the contribution of the authors Sections 10 point Times-Roman font. Number the sections 1, 2, etc. Number the subsections 1.1, 2.2,1, etc. Figures and Tables - All drawings must be original. If the authors wish to reuse any drawings, charts, or tables, they must have prior permissions from the original authors. Figures and Tables must be numbered and must have captions. References References must be given in the alphabetical order of the last names of the first authors. Pages must be numbered on the bottom right corner. Page limit = 15 pages

Advertising in VSI VISION

VSI VISION has a reach of over 5000 professionals working in all areas of VLSI and is a good forum to advertise. The rates for advertisement are given below. Category Organizational Member of VSI Non-member Organization Half-Page, B&W Rs. 10,000/Rs. 15,000/Full-page, B&W Rs. 15,000/Rs. 20,000/Half-Page, Color Rs. 15,000/Rs. 20,000/Full-Page, Color Rs. 20,000/Rs. 25,000/-

The draft must be made in the name of VLSI Society of India and must be sent along with a CD containing the advertisement material in WORD, PDF, or Coral Draw formats to the following address. Mr. Gopal Naidu Treasurer, VLSI Society of India Texas Instruments India Bagmane Tech Park, CV Raman Nagar, Bangalore 560093 Phone: 25099467


VSI VISION August 2005 VLSI Society of India Registered Society under KSR Act 1960, Rule 1961 Website: E-mail: Membership Form (For New membership and renewals) New Members to affix photograph.


Existing Membership No: Member (tick as applicable): Student /

(Quote additional Old No. If any): Non-student / Corporate

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Your Name: Your Profession/ Designation: Your e-mail address: Your Contact address: Your Professional address (if different from above): Your Area of specialization: Would you like to review papers in events organized by VSI? : How many papers are you willing to review? : Your Brief bio-data: Attach separately How can you contribute to the activities of VSI? : What Activities would you like VSI to organize? : Details of Payment: Cash/ Credit Card DD no: Dated: Drawn on Bank: Amount: I agree to be a member of the VLSI Society of India and have read and understood the charter of the society. I will actively contribute towards the objectives of the society. Member Signature

Place and Date: Category

Membership Rates: Yearly 5-yearly Student Member: Rs. 500/= N/A Non-student member: Rs. 1000/= Rs 4500/Corporate member: Rs. 10,000/= Rs 45000/The DD to be made out to: "VLSI Society of India" and payable at Bangalore. Mail the form along with the DD to: Mr. Gopal Naidu Texas Instruments (India) Pvt Ltd Bagmane Tech Park, Opposite LRDE, C.V.Raman Nagar Post, Bangalore: 560 093 (FAX: 91-80-25048213) Note: The photograph is for official records only and will not be imaged onto the membership card.


VSI VISION August 2005

VLSI Society of India

Registered Society under KSR Act 1960, Rule 1961

Election of Office Bearers: 2005-2006


Nomination for President: Dr. Biswadip Mitra Nomination for Secretary: Dr. C.P. Ravikumar

Renominated for 2005-2006 term Renominated for 2005-2006 term

Please vote for one candidate for each post.



Biswadip Mitra C.P. Ravikumar

___________ ___________

(Write-in) (Write-in)

Members Name ____________________________________________________________________________________ VSI Membership Number______________________________________ Signature _______________________________

Please put the ballot in the ballot box at the registration desk of VDAT 2005 Symposium if you plan to attend the event during Aug 10-13, 2005. Alternately, please mail the ballot in a sealed envelope to:

Mr. Gopal Naidu Treasurer, VLSI Society of India Texas Instruments, Bagmane Tech Park, C.V. Raman Nagar, Bangalore: 560 093

To be counted, the ballot must arrive before August 20, 2005

The results of the election will be announced by August 30, 2005 at the VSI website.