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High Performance ASIC Design: Using Synthesizable Domino Logic in an ASIC Flow

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This book stems from my experience over the last few years in designing high-speed digital logic using ASIC design flows. I discovered that while it is possible to significantly improve performance in ASIC implementations with deep pipelining and careful physical design, a speed penalty still had to be paid due to their exclusive use of static logic. This spurred an interest in using domino logic with automated synthesis and place and route tools. This book documents my experiences in automating the use of domino logic, and shows that despite the challenges entailed in the process, it is possible to use domino logic with industry-standard ASIC tools and achieve a significant speed improvement in the process.

Engineering is a group activity. The development of our domino logic synthesis system was possible due to the collaboration of many intelligent, enthusiastic, and dedicated co-workers whose contributions I must acknowledge. First of all I would like to thank my two chapter co-authors, Tommy Zounes and Bernard Bourgin. In addition to being gifted and hard-working engineers, Tommy and Bernard have also always been very generous with their knowledge and time, allowing all of their co-workers, including me, to learn a great deal from them. The domino logic library was possible due to the talents and efforts of Scott Anderson, Shaun Forsting, Judy Alvarez-Gallardo, Roger Boates, Michael Lin, and Juneho Park, who helped design the schematics and also contributed to the myriad other tasks involved with taping out a number of chips. Scott, armed with a contagious optimism, also helped me document our early experiences with using domino logic. Shaun Forsting converted the schematics into very efficient layouts across a number of different CMOS processes. During the early years of the domino logic project we were joined by two engineers from Italy: Fabrizio Viglione and Marco Cavalli. They both worked on the first domino chips with great enthusiasm and effectiveness. Fabrizio subsequently took the first stab at implementing our approach to synthesizing domino logic. From France we were later joined by the affable Leonardo Valencia, who with Cyril Adobati and Robin Wilson completed the first design that used a fully synthesizable domino logic flow. Roy Mader and Boris Andreev worked on the project as summer interns. Roy subsequently became a much-valued permanent member of our group and led us in overcoming many of the onerous challenges involved in pushing domino designs through automated place and route flows.

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