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Computer Science Syllabus - VLSI Design
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VLSI Design

Lecturer: Professor P. Robinson

No. of lectures: 16

Prerequisite courses: Digital Electronics, Structured Hardware Design, ECAD, Computer Design


This course will introduce the design of very large scale integrated circuits. The material develops an understanding of the whole spectrum from semiconductor physics through transistor-level design and system design to architecture, and promotes the associated tools for computer aided design.


  • Transistor design. Semiconductors. Simple logic. MOS layers, stick diagrams. Layout of an inverter. Transmission gates and pass transistor logic.

  • Combinational logic. NOR and NAND in nMOS and CMOS. Compound gates. Delays.

  • Logic design. Stereotyped design and PLAs.

  • System design. Clocking and registers. Storage elements and sequential machines. Dynamic logic.

  • Memory design.

  • Building blocks. Shifters, adders, ALUs. Carry.

  • Computer-aided design. Fabrication. Design rules and lambda rules.

  • Performance and large loads. Logical effort. Scaling.

  • Self-timed circuits.


On completing the course, students should be able to

  • describe the structure and operation of an MOS transistor; design simple logic in CMOS; compare different designs as circuits, stick diagrams and layout; explain gate matrix and PLA design in CMOS

  • apply clocked design for dynamic logic and storage; discuss different approaches to the design of memory

  • describe the modules making up a processor; discuss different approaches to propagating carry

  • explain the fabrication process and analyse its implications; compare different approaches to the implementation of systems; discuss the relevance and design of self-timed circuits

Recommended reading

* Weste, N.H.E. & Harris, D. (2005). CMOS VLSI Design - a circuits and systems perspective. Addison-Wesley (3rd ed.). ISBN 0-321-26977-2
Augarten, S. (1983). State of the art: a photographic history of the integrated circuit. Ticknor and Fields.
Furber, S.B. (1989). VLSI RISC architecture and organisation. Marcel Dekker.
Hennessy, J.L. & Patterson, D.A. (1996). Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach. Morgan Kaufmann.
Mavor, J., Jack, M.A. & Denyer, P.B. (1983). Introduction to MOS LSI design. Addison-Wesley.
Mead, C. & Conway, L. (1980). Introduction to VLSI systems. Addison-Wesley.
Sutherland, I., Sproull, R. & Harris, D. (1999). Logical effort. Morgan Kaufmann.

next up previous contents
Next: Easter Term 2006: Part Up: Lent Term 2006: Part Previous: Topics in Concurrency   Contents
Christine Northeast
Sun Sep 11 15:46:50 BST 2005