What is electronic design automation

Electronic design automation (EDA) refers to the process of functional design, synthesis, verification and physical design (including layout, wiring, layout, design rule check, etc.) of VLSI chips by using computer aided design (CAD) software.

Historical development of electronic design automation

Before the advent of electronic design automation, designers had to manually complete the design and wiring of integrated circuits, because the complexity of the so-called integrated circuits at that time was far less than that of today. The industry began to use geometric methods to make tape for circuit photoplotter. By the mid-1970s, developers should try to automate the entire design process, not just to automatically complete mask sketches. The first circuit layout and wiring tool was successfully developed. Design Automation Conference was founded in this period to promote the development of electronic design automation.

The next important stage of the development of electronic design automation is marked by Carver Mead and Lin Conway’s paper introduction to VLSI systems published in 1980. This significant paper puts forward a new idea of chip design through programming language. If this idea is implemented, the complexity of chip design can be significantly improved. This is mainly due to the improved 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 the construction of the actual hardware circuit. The requirements of manual design for chip layout and wiring are reduced, and the software error rate is continuously reduced. Up to now, although the language and tools used are still developing, it is still the basis of Digital IC design to design and verify the expected behavior of the circuit by programming language and to synthesize the low abstract level (or “back-end”) physical design with tool software.

Since 1981, electronic design automation gradually began to commercialize. The first electronic design automation sales exhibition was held at the design automation conference in 1984. Gateway design automation introduced a Hardware Description Language Verilog in 1986, which is now the most popular high-level abstract design language. In 1987, another hardware description language, VHDL, was created with funding from the US Department of defense. Modern electronic design automation tools can identify and read different types of hardware descriptions. All kinds of simulation systems produced according to these language specifications have been introduced rapidly, which enables designers to directly simulate the designed chips. Later, the development of technology focused more on logical synthesis.

The design of digital integrated circuits is modular (see integrated circuit design, design closure and design flow (EDA)). Semiconductor device manufacturing process requires standardized design description, and high abstract level description will be compiled into the form of information unit (cell). Designers do not need to consider the specific hardware technology of the information unit in the logic design. Using specific IC manufacturing process to implement hardware circuit, information unit will implement predefined logic or other electronic functions. Most semiconductor hardware manufacturers provide “component library” for their components and provide corresponding standardized simulation models. Compared with the digital electronic design automation tools, most of the electronic design automation tools of analog systems are not modular, because the functions of analog circuits are more complex, and the interaction between different parts is strong, and the law of action is complex, most electronic components are not so ideal. Verilog AMS is a hardware description language for analog electronic design. In this paper, designers can use hardware verification language to complete project verification. The latest development trend is to integrate description language and verification language into one. A typical example is SystemVerilog.

With the expansion of the scale of integrated circuits and the development of semiconductor technology, the importance of electronic design automation is increasing rapidly. The users of these tools include the hardware technicians of semiconductor device manufacturing center, whose job is to operate semiconductor device manufacturing equipment and manage the whole workshop. Some design companies will 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 the designed functions into semi custom programmable logic devices similar to field programmable gate arrays, or to produce fully customized ASIC.

Features of electronic design automation

Electronic design automation technology, referred to as EDA Technology in English. EDA (Electronic Design Automation) technology is based on the development software and experimental development system of large-scale programming logic devices.

The design of electronic system using EDA technology has the following characteristics:

① Hardware is designed by software;

② It has the function of automatic transfer (the conversion from the system designed by software to the hardware system is automatically completed by the relevant development software);

③ The manufacturing and design process of Shenzhen PCB can be simulated by relevant software;

④ The system can be programmed on site and upgraded online;

⑤ The whole system can be integrated on one chip, with small size, low power consumption and high reliability.

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