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What is the status of analog automated IC layout? (Read 3483 times)
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What is the status of analog automated IC layout?
Jul 08th, 2011, 4:05am
In a recent mixed-signal IC design project (mid-size, no deep-sub-um technology) I used circuit optimization techniques with some success, but the whole analog layout was still done fully manually (just schematic-driven, not more), only routing to the control-unit was done with a routing tool.
As usual I observed that analog layout takes more than expect, but my trials with constraints, analog placers, etc. where not so positive. With no constraints the placements where poor, with many constraints, just many of them are not kept. Or partly the placement was good, but it was extremely difficult to repair the non-optimum parts.
What are your experiences?
Which tools?
PDK support?
Who should use them, the front-end designer or a layout expert? Learning curve?
For what blocks (complexity, ADC, RF,...)?

Bye Stephan
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Re: What is the status of analog automated IC layout?
Reply #1 - Sep 18th, 2011, 1:49pm
still largely manual, schematic driven layout, with auto generation of elements using PCell.

Some people try to manually place and then auto-route from there but the autorouter often messes it up even after component placement.
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Jerry Twomey
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Contract IC-PCB-System Design - Analog, Mixed Signal, RF & Medical
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Re: What is the status of analog automated IC layout?
Reply #2 - Sep 21st, 2011, 2:20pm
We (Ciranova) develop these tools and have a number of tapeouts at advanced geometries.  Our experiences:

- Placement is harder to automate but we believe more important
- iPDK or Skill PDK
- Either circuit designer or high-end layout designer
- Most value on big designs (whole ADC ...) and advanced geometries
   - Small designs + simple design rules --> manual is very efficient
   - 28nm rules --> very complicated for manual layout
- Proper constraint architecture is crucial or people won't use tool
- Doesn't replace knowledgeable designer, but enables designer to
 do much more DRC-clean layout and exploration quickly, esp at
 40nm and below
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