Re-working the VLSI Project

For my first task as the new Division B TA, I have been asked to rework the 3rd year VLSI design project. Since it is directly related to chip design stuff, I have decided to blog about it here. Although I have been a part of this project for the last 3 years, this time around, we are making a huge design change. Design tools being EOL-ed and a change in department teaching philosophy has necessitated a massive change in the project. So, my basic plan now is to:

  1. Ensure that the design tools are set up correctly on our new server.
  2. Identify the associated design kits and design libraries to be used for the new project.
  3. Bring a simple ring-oscillator design through the design flow to make sure all the critical steps work magically.
  4. Come up with a new design project that encourages group collaboration instead of just bringing a design through the flow.
  5. Work out the specific flow that will result in bringing this design from design entry through to final tape out.

As a start, I have contacted the computer officer in charge of setting up the new server and tools to find out their status. I’ve asked him to let me know (as soon as possible), which tools had been installed so that I can take them for a test drive. I’ve also been looking up the necessary design libraries for Mentor Graphics that we might use. At first glance, there are none being supplied by EUROPRACTICE that might be used. However, I will send EUROPRACTICE an email to ask them if they can recommend me the necessary toolchain and libraries to use.

Hopefully, there will be a suitable library that can be used. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long road to get things working.