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Vlsi Design Curriculum

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Course and Curriculum Innovations in ECE

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1408.1 - 9.1408.9



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Paper Authors

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Richard Brown

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Michael Flynn

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Gordon Carichner

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Dennis Sylvester

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David Blaauw

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Catharine June

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

Session 2632

VLSI Design Curriculum

Richard B. Brown, Dennis Sylvester, David Blaauw, Michael Flynn, Gordon Carichner and Catharine June

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2122

Abstract—The Intel Foundation has funded a project at the University of Michigan to develop, document, and disseminate a world-class VLSI curriculum. This paper, which is the first presen- tation of the project, describes the overall curriculum at a high level, with more focus on the VLSI courses. Curriculum details (lecture content, text, references, projects, sample assignments and exams, computing environment and CAD tools) for sixteen undergraduate and graduate courses will be disseminated through a web site maintained by Intel Corp., and on CDs available from Intel.

I. Background

In the spring of 2003, the Intel University Relations office published a request for proposals (RFP) to develop and disseminate a “world-class” university-level VLSI Design curriculum in an effort to “develop a highly skilled, international workforce that can support the continued growth of the computing industry.”1 The RFP listed as justification for Intel’s investment, deficiencies in VLSI curricula in the specific areas of logic design, circuit design, microarchitecture, validation, design methodology and tools, and mask-level design. It notes that teaching VLSI is challenging because it requires both depth and considerable breadth. As stated in the RFP, Intel would like to see students with stronger software skills, analog circuit expertise, experience in high speed and/ or low power circuit design, exposure to modern submicron semiconductor processes, and consid- erably more hands-on experience designing integrated circuits.

The philosophy of the University of Michigan VLSI curriculum has been to give students a broad background in fundamental topics, combined with project-oriented VLSI courses that rely on modern design flows, professional CAD tools, and current process technologies. The courses cover topics ranging from semiconductor device physics to computer architecture. This program has produced graduates who are productive almost immediately when they begin work, and who have the broad and deep background that makes them flexible as technologies and design styles change throughout their careers. The proposal reviewers at Intel were convinced that this pro- gram meets their objectives, so the task at hand was to document and disseminate the curriculum.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Brown, R., & Flynn, M., & Carichner, G., & Sylvester, D., & Blaauw, D., & June, C. (2004, June), Vlsi Design Curriculum Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12930

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