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Computer Engineering Seminar

Analog Intellectual Property: What It Is,

Robert Rutenbar

Most modern System-on-Chip (SoC) designs will soon be
mixed-signal designs.
This should come as no surprise: put a few million gates of logic
on a chip
and the first thing it wants to do is to communicate with the
outside world,
and the world is a continuous-valued analog place. Since analog circuits
exploit rather than avoid the low-level physics of the
fabrication process,
they remain painful to design, to validate, and to reuse. Classical analog
design (one transistor at a time) is incompatible with our desire to
integrate more analog on chip, and to design each chip quickly. This talk
describes the evolution of emerging commercial analog synthesis
tools, which
are now poised to give analog designers the same productivity boosts that
logic synthesis gave digital designers. I will describe how
synthesis gives
us the first practical approach to reusable analog blocks–analog
intellectual property (IP). I will also show several industrial
examples of
this technology. The talk should cover topics of interest for the
digitally-inclined (who wonder why analog folks are always so cranky) and
the analog-inclined (who think digital folks have life way too easy).
Rob Rutenbar received the Ph.D. from the University of Michigan
in 1984, and
subsequently joined the faculty at Carnegie Mellon, where he is currently
the Stephen Jatras Professor of Electrical and Computer
Engineering. He has
worked on analog synthesis technology since the Reagan administration. He
chaired Cadence's Analog Technical Advisory Board from 1992 to 1996. He
cofounded Neolinear Inc. in 1997, and currently serves as its Chief
Scientist. He is the founding Director of the MARCO Focus Research Center
for Circuits, Systems, Software (called 'c2S2'), a consortium of 10 US
universities funded by the US semiconductor community to address future
circuit design challenges. He is the 2001 winner of the Semiconductor
Research Corporation Aristotle Award for excellence in education. He is a
Fellow of the IEEE.

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