Micro-chips are at the heart of modern microelectronic systems for computing, communication, entertainment, and other consumer electronics. In order to design and manufacture next generations of complex microelectronic systems, major innovations in the design of EDA (electronic design automation) software are needed. This project addresses four new challenges in EDA for complex microelectronic systems at both the micro-chip and the circuit board levels: (1) Beyond-die EDA: The routing (wiring) of today?s high-density complex circuit boards has to be done manually since no existing EDA software can solve the problem. Research will be carried out in circuit board routing to handle various new technology issues. (2) Litho-aware EDA: Since there is no alternative practical option but to continue using 193nm light to print (manufacture) on-chip features of size 32nm and below, accurate printing has become extremely difficult. EDA software will be developed to produce designs that are friendly to lithography for successful micro-chip manufacturing. (3) GPU EDA: Graphics processing unit (GPU) has become a popular cost-effective parallel computing platform recently. How to take advantage of GPU to accelerate critical EDA tasks is a challenge and will be studied. (4) Stochastic EDA: In order to handle process variations in advanced technology nodes, EDA software will be designed to solve fundamental graph optimization problems (e.g., shortest path, minimum spanning tree, and network flow etc.) where edge weights (costs) are random variables.
The proposed research will advance knowledge in EDA. It will also add new knowledge to other fields such as mathematical programming and combinatorial optimization since ultimately the research will need to solve large scale optimization problems. The broader impacts of this project include technology advancement and the education of next generation of engineers. The proposed research improves the design and manufacturing of microelectronic systems which will benefit the society at large. New research results will be passed on to undergraduate and graduate students through dissertation research, course projects, homework, and classroom teaching.