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First semester
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

Knowledge and understanding.
advanced skill on digital design, with emphasis on VLSI system and low-power design.
Applying knowledge and understanding: being able to develop autonomously the design of a digital system of realistic complexity.
Making judgements: evaluating different design options and making choices based on functional and performance specification. Communication skills: being able to communicate in effective and concise fashion one’s own design activity, also in a team-working environment.

Course contents summary

VLSI digital design components.
Low-power digital design.
Digital system design

Course contents

IC manufacturing technologies (recall)
Constant electric field scaling: theory, effects, limits and generalization.
The technology perspective: ITRS roadmap
Analysis of energy consumption of a CMOS circuit
Activity coefficients of CMOS logic
Low-power strategies: dynamic power components
Static power sources.
Low-power strategies: static power components. Circuit-based and technology-based solutions.
Semiconductor memories. Classification and circuit implementation: ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, Flash EPROM, sRAM, dRAM.
Design-flow of a CMOS VLSI digital circuit
CAD tools supporting the design flow
Laboratory project.

Recommended readings

Jan M. Rabaey, Rabaey, Anantha P. Chandrakasan, Borivoje Nikolić: “Digital Integrated Circuits: A Design Perspective”, Prentice Hall , 2003, ISBN 8120322576

Jan M. Rabaey , “Low Power Design Essentials”, Springer, 2009, ISBN 0387717137

Teaching methods

The course includes:
- Oral lessons
- Lab work, which in turn includes:
- Asssisted design activities, under teacher guidance, aimed at hardware and software tools training
- Autonomous design work, by teamworking with teacher assistance

Assessment methods and criteria

The final examination consists of two parts: presentation of design activity and oral examination. The presentation of design activity (carried out on teacher’s assignment) consists of a group presentation, with audiovisual support. Presentation quality and effectiveness contribute (together with technical contents) to the final evaluation. Oral examination is carried out individually and is related to theoretical topics included in the program. Both parts have similar weight in the final marks assessment.

Other informations

Course material at http://elly.dii.unipr.it/