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Computer aided design programs

  1. Dec 5, 2009 #1
    Hi all!

    I'm a second year student at a university, and I'm wondering, what programs do "real" EE or computer engineers use to design their circuits or register-transfer-level systems?

    I'm currently in a computer organization course, where I've designed a (limited) MIPS processor, and implemented it using Quartus II (with some VHDL). This is great for rapid-prototyping, but what about going to an actual chip production? What I've been wondering is, how do the "real" companies (ie Intel or AMD) go about making designs which can then be fabbed? With processors now having millions (billions?) of transistors, it can't possibly all be done by hand.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated :)

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2009 #2


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    Gold Member

    Hi Max :)

    Quite a lot goes into a chip in order to get it from behavioral code to the final product so it can be fabbed. See this for more information.

    As you can see from the above link, there are lots of processes that goes into the VLSI design flow. There are many programs that you use from behavioral description to gds2. Here are some CAD tools for a very rough design flow: Synopsys VCS (HDL simulation and verification) --> Synopsys Design Compiler (synthesis) --> Mentor DFT Advisor (scan chain insertion) --> Cadence Encounter (floor planning) --> Calibre (DRC and LVS checks).

    Much more time is also added depending on whether you are doing ASIC or full custom design. As you have all ready seen, for rapid prototyping and quick time to market, FPGA is a good solution.

    Oh, companies like Intel use custom software to design their chips, or at least for a greater portion of the design flow.
  4. Dec 8, 2009 #3
    I'm a member of the AutoDesk Users Group (free to join) and you might pose your question there: [I don't work for Autodesk]

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
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