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Electronic design automation (English: Electronic design automation, abbreviation: EDA) refers to the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software to complete the functional design, synthesis, verification, and physical design of VLSI chips (including layout and wiring) , Layout, design rules inspection, etc.) and other process design methods.


History and Development

Before the advent of electronic design automation, designers must manually complete the design and wiring of integrated circuits. This was because the so-called integrated circuits were far less complicated than they are now. The industry began to use geometric methods to make adhesive tapes for circuit photoplotters. By the mid-1970s, developers should try to automate the entire design process, not just to complete the mask sketch automatically. The first circuit layout and wiring tool was successfully developed. Design Automation Conference (Design Automation Conference) was created during this period, aimed at promoting 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 significant paper presents new ideas for chip design through programming languages. If this idea is realized, the complexity of the chip design can be significantly improved. This is mainly due to the considerable improvement in the performance of the tools used for IC logic simulation and functional verification. With the development of computer simulation technology, the design project can be simulated before constructing the actual hardware circuit, the requirements for manual design of chip layout and wiring are reduced, and the software error rate is continuously reduced. To this day, although the language and tools used are still evolving, this approach to designing and verifying the expected behavior of circuits through programming languages and using tool software to obtain low-level (or “back-end”) physical designs is still It is the foundation of digital integrated circuit design.

Since 1981, electronic design automation has gradually begun to be commercialized. At the Design Automation Conference in 1984, the first sales exhibition with the theme of electronic design automation was also held. Gateway Design Automation launched Verilog, a hardware description language, in 1986, which is now the most popular high-level abstract design language. In 1987, with the support of the US Department of Defense, another hardware description language VHDL was created. Modern electronic design automation design tools can identify and read different types of hardware descriptions. Various simulation systems generated according to these language specifications are quickly launched, allowing designers to directly simulate the designed chips. Later, the development of technology focused more on logical synthesis.

The design of digital integrated circuits is more modular (see Integrated Circuit Design, Design Closure, and Design Flow (EDA)). Semiconductor device manufacturing processes require standardized design descriptions, and high-level descriptions will be compiled into the form of information cells. Designers do not need to consider the specific hardware technology of the information unit in the logic design fashion. Using a specific integrated circuit manufacturing process to implement the hardware circuit, the information unit will implement predefined logic or other electronic functions. Most semiconductor hardware manufacturers provide "component libraries" for the components they manufacture, and provide corresponding standardized simulation models. Compared with digital electronic design automation tools, most of the electronic design automation tools of analog systems are not modular. This is because the functions of analog circuits are more complicated, and the interaction between different parts is stronger, and the rules of action are complex. Most electronic components do not So ideal. Verilog AMS is a hardware description language for analog electronic design. In this article, designers can use the hardware verification language to complete the verification work of the project. The latest development trend is to integrate the description language and verification language into one. The typical example is SystemVerilog.

With the expansion of integrated circuits and the development of semiconductor technology, the importance of electronic design automation has increased dramatically. Users of these tools include hardware technicians in semiconductor device manufacturing centers whose job is to operate semiconductor device manufacturing equipment and manage the entire work shop. Some companies with design as their main business will also use electronic design automation software to assess whether the manufacturing department can adapt to new design tasks. Electronic design automation tools are also used to import design features into semi-custom programmable logic devices like field programmable logic gate arrays, or to produce fully customized application specific integrated circuits.


Today's digital circuits are very modular (see Integrated Circuit Design, Design Convergence, and Design Flow (EDA)). The front end of the production line standardizes the design flow and divides the design flow into many "cells" without considering technology Then, the cell uses specific integrated circuit technology to realize logic or other electronic functions. Manufacturers usually provide libraries of components and simulation models that conform to standard simulation tools for the production process. Analog EDA tools are less modular because they require more functionality and more interaction between parts, and parts are generally less ideal.

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


Electronics theme

Circuit design, electronic circuit design, integrated circuit design

Comparison of electronic design automation software

Computer-aided design, computer-aided engineering

Hardware description language


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