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Keys To Successful Vlsi Realization Through Mosis (How To Get Three Computers To Cooperate And Remain Sane)

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.386.1 - 3.386.10

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Paper Authors

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Kenneth J. Soda

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3532

Keys to Successful VLSI Realization Through MOSIS or How to Get Three Computers to Cooperate and Remain Sane1

Kenneth J. Soda Department of Electrical Engineering United States Air Force Academy, Colorado


Reduction to practice is the fundamental goal of engineering and a consistent focus of all engineering education. This process has become increasingly difficult to realize, especially for educators who focus upon Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuit design. The complexity and cost of modern fabrication facilities are beyond both the financial reach and scope of the vast majority of universities. The Metal Oxide Semiconductor Implementation Service (MOSIS) has, for many years, permitted educators to bridge the gap between theory and practice in VLSI circuits. This service provides a low cost method through which student integrated circuit prototypes can actually be fabricated. In a matter of weeks, packaged circuits are delivered which exactly reflect a student’s design. Since commercial semiconductor manufacturers perform the actual fabrication, the consistency of the fabrication is excellent. A student’s success cannot be better validated than through this reduction to practice.

As appealing as this MOSIS brokered fabrication may seem, there are many nuances in the administration, scheduling, submission and reporting process which can prove disheartening to the VLSI educator. Strict adherence to deadlines, precise formatting of transmission messages, specific computer communication protocols and set funding procedures are driven by the sheer number of MOSIS users. This paper will summarize four years of experience with MOSIS as an important educational tool. It highlights approaches, techniques and disciplines which will ensure the path to successful fabrications will be a smooth and supportive of the educational process.


To students of Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits, the ultimate test of competence is the actual fabrication of a physical design into a hardware "chip". This process lies outside the grasp of nearly all universities, as the cost of maintaining even a limited fabrication facility is enormous. Through the Metal Oxide Semiconductor Implementation Service (MOSIS) this fabrication process becomes reality for hundreds of students annually.

1 The author gratefully acknowledges the support of the National Science Foundation, The Advanced Research Projects Agency, USAF Academy Dean of Faculty, USAF Academy Department of Electrical Engineering and the USAFA Research and Development Foundation.


Soda, K. J. (1998, June), Keys To Successful Vlsi Realization Through Mosis (How To Get Three Computers To Cooperate And Remain Sane) Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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