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Electronic Design Automation


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Electronic design automation

Electronic design automation, abbreviation: EDA, refers to a design method that use computer-aided design (CAD) software to complete the functional design, synthesis, verification, and physical design (including layout, wiring, design rule checking and etc.) of Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) chips and other processes.

History and development

Before the emergence of electronic design automation, designers had to manually complete the design and wiring of integrated circuits, because the so-called integrated circuits at that time were far less complex than they are now. By the mid-1970s, developers try to automate the entire design process, not just be satisfied with automatically completing mask sketches, the first circuit layout and wiring tool was successfully developed. The Design Automation Conference was established during this period to promote the development of electronic design automation.

The next important stage in the development of electronic design automation is marked by the paper "Introduction to VLSI Systems" published by Carver Mead and Lynn Conway in 1980. This paper of great significance puts forward a new idea of chip design through programming language. Even today, although the languages and tools used are still evolving, the way of designing and verifying the expected behavior of circuits through programming languages and using tool software to low abstract level (or "back end ") physical design is still the basis of digital integrated circuit design.

Since 1981, electronic design automation has gradually begun to be commercialized. In 1984, the Design Automation Conference also held the first sales exhibition with the theme of electronic design automation. Gateway Design Automation launched a hardware description language-Verilog in 1986, which is now the most popular high-level abstract design language. In 1987, with funding from the US Department of Defense, another hardware description language-VHDL was created. Various simulation systems based on these language specifications were quickly launched, allowing designers to directly simulate the designed chips. Later, the development of technology focused more on logic synthesis.

With the expansion of the scale of integrated circuits and the development of semiconductor technology, the importance of electronic design automation has increased dramatically. The users of these tools include hardware technicians in the semiconductor device manufacturing center. Their job is to operate semiconductor device manufacturing equipment and manage the entire workshop. Some companies whose main business is design also use electronic design automation software to evaluate whether the manufacturing department can adapt to new design tasks. Electronic design automation tools are also used to import designed functions into semi-custom programmable logic devices like field programmable logic gate arrays, or to produce fully customized application- specific integrated circuits.


Current status

Nowadays, digital circuits are very modular, the front end of the production line standardizes the design process and divides the design process into many "cells" without considering the technology, then the cells use specific integrated circuit technology to implement logic or other electronics features. Manufacturers usually provide libraries of components, and simulation models that conform to standard simulation tools for the production process. The analog EDA tool is less modular, because it requires more functions, more interaction between parts, and parts are generally less ideal.

In the electronics industry, due to the increasing scale of the semiconductor industry, EDA is playing an increasingly important role. Manufacturers using this technology are mostly foundry manufacturers engaged in semiconductor device manufacturing, and design service companies that use EDA simulation software to evaluate production conditions. EDA tools are also used in the programming of field programmable logic gate arrays.

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