Here is how commercial VLSI microprocessors have been designed, starting with the Motorola MC68000 (1977–79). I impart the design method and say what software tools were used. Here is how the chips, methods, and tools have evolved. I project the trends. In 1977, logic design was done with pencil and paper. Design verification consisted of programs simulating small sections of a chip and of TTL breadboards. Today (1986), logic design is still done with pencil and paper, but it is entered into a computer using an ordinary text editor. Design verification programs then check this text file. In the next 5 to 10 years, logic design will still be done with pencil and paper, but it will be entered into the computer with a specialized editor. Design verification will stay the same. I don’t think the level of automation will increase significantly for commercial VLSI microprocessor design. The design tools will run faster because the computers they run on will be faster. There will he more computers. So there will be more instances of the use of design tools. But for commercial microprocessors, I don’t think logic design tools will do substantially more than they do today. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. These opinions do not reflect positions held by the IBM Corporation.
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- Trends in Commercial VLSI Microprocessor Design
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