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Domino Logic in ASIC Design Flow – Detailed Methodology and Breakthroughs in High Speed Design Automation Approach


Geneva, Engineers at STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) have revealed how to use domino logic, a very fast circuit design style utilized in the highest performance custom designs,in an automated framework. The approach, documented in the book High Performance ASIC Design: Using Synthesizable Domino Logic in An ASIC Flow written by Razak Hossain, a Senior Principal Engineer working at STMicroelectronics, Inc., is the first to describe a detailed methodology for using domino logic in a standard automated design flow. The expertise described in the book was developed during a three year long industrial development project.

Digital logic is the largest segment of the semiconductor market today. The implementation of digital logic is currently dominated by automated logic synthesis and physical design methodologies. These techniques allow digital designs to be completed in less time and with fewer designers than custom design techniques, which is now limited only to microprocessors and a small group of very high performance digital designs. While it is possible to imitate many of the high performance digital design techniques in custom designs using an ASIC design methodology, standard ASIC design flows do not support the use of domino logic.

The ability to use easily use domino logic allows it to be selectively applied in a much larger application space. For example, as VLSI systems increasingly become systems on a chip, many traditional system level optimizations will be made on a chip. If a faster synthesizable domino logic processor core can replace several slower cores, this leads to a cost reduction. Alternately, if a legacy design needs to be made to run faster it can be done so by implementing it with domino logic without incurring the cost of re-designing the microarchitecture and porting the software. Another application of high speed digital logic is in scaled CMOS mixed signal applications where it can be used to control analog and radio frequency (RF) circuitry. The judicious use of domino logic in critical blocks minimizes the power overhead in its use, while maximizing the performance of any process technology.

“High speed digital logic is critically important for radio frequency (RF) application designed in advanced CMOS processes as this part of the wireless modem is increasingly relying on digital signal processing,” said Thierry Arnaud, Director of RF Design at ST-NXP Wireless. “Automated design techniques provides for improved productivity, time to market, and overall design quality.”

High Performance ASIC Design: Using Synthesizable Domino Logic in An ASIC Flow, published by Cambridge University Press, starts with an overview of design techniques to achieve high speed in ASIC designs and is followed by chapters describing the design and characterization of domino logic standard cell libraries and an advanced domino logic synthesis flow. Actual results achieved by using automated domino logic design techniques, including silicon measurements, are presented to validate the methodology, whilst real-world design examples, such as the implementation of the execution unit of a microprocessor and Viterbi decoder, show how the techniques are applied in practice. This book is ideal for graduate students and researchers in electrical and computer engineering, and also for circuit designers and EDA engineers in industry.

About STMicroelectronics
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today’s convergence markets. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2007, the Company’s net revenues were $10.0 billion. Further information on ST can be found at


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