By Jim Hogan
edadesignline.com (May 18, 2010)
After 35 plus years of being in the semiconductor business, custom IC design still is an extremely interesting challenge.
I have always felt the job of a designer is to optimize designs within the process capabilities. The design exercise is still a process of trading off the marketing requirements of function, performance, cost and power. This is especially true in the case of custom design. There is never a perfect answer, only a most right, or said differently, the least wrong. This is fundamentally due to the inherent reliance of statistical process control in discrete manufacturing, such as semiconductor, chemical, genetics, and steel foundries.
Designers relying on discreet manufacturing processes need to rely on accurate process models (SPICE for semiconductor). As variance increases, more models or corners are required to represent the process capability.
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