Master Course Description

No: EE 477

Title: VLSI   II

Credits: 5

UW Course Catalog Description

Coordinator: Apurva Mishra


  1. Develop a fairly deep understanding of how IC-based memory and arithmetic or other datapath blocks are designed using static and dynamic CMOS technologies.
  2. Give the students extensive experience with industry-standard computer-aided design tools, including Cadence Schematic Editor, Virtuoso, DRC, LVS, Synopsys Design Compiler, HSPICE.
  3. Capstone project work: student teams design large high-performance memory and arithmetic circuits to real-world specs.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Enable the students to design an SRAM.
  2. Enable the students to design a high-speed CMOS adder.
  3. Enable the students to design a high-speed CMOS multiplier.

Textbook: Weste & Harris, CMOS VLSI Design: A Circuits and Systems Perspective, 4th ed., Addison-Wesley, 2010

Reference Texts: Rabaey, Chandrakasan, and Nikolic, Digital Integrated Circuits, A Design Perspective, 2nd ed., Prentice-Hall, 2003

Prerequisites by Topic:
  1. MOS device characteristics.
  2. Design and analysis of CMOS combinational and sequential logic, both static and dynamic implementations
  3. IC timing and power analysis, understanding of interconnect and parasitics
  4. Familiarity with VLSI CAD tools


  1. SRAM and DRAM design
  2. High speed adder design
  3. High speed multiplier design
  4. Other memory technologies and current trends in digital IC design

Course Structure: There are 4 hours of lecture per week (Mon and Wed), plus 1 hour of tutorial or problem solving (Fri), plus extensive laboratory work using VLSI CAD tools. There is substantial project work broken into three cumulative assignments, which the students work on in teams of two. There is one midterm exam. 'Peer points' may be used to encourage participation, teamwork, and significant contributions to classmates' learning, which may happen via the online discussion board or other means.

Computer Resources: The abovementioned VLSI CAD tools are set up on the department Linux servers for the students to use and managed by the CADTA.

Laboratory: Students have access to the EE361 and EE371 computer labs, where they can work on the design projects.


Outcome coverage:
(a, high) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering. Much of the class is heavily based on application of math, science, and engineering knowledge. This is emphasized in class and assessed through application in project hand calculations and planning, and exam problem solving.

(b, medium) An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data. The task of creating well-designed simulation testbenches and evaluating the results is covered in class and assessed in project work.

(c, high) An ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability. While there is an emphasis on real-world constraints applying to chip design, the constraints applied to the design projects are more narrow ones such as area, timing, and power.

(d, medium) An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams. Although not typically multidisciplinary since the class is in the student's selected major, the students work as members of two person teams to execute each of the projects. Teamwork is assessed in project work and in 'peer points'.

(e, medium) An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems. For each of the design projects, the student must analyze the requirements, then design, implement, and test the design, to verify its performance and characteristics.

(g, high) An ability to communicate effectively. Documentation and communication is heavily emphasized and evaluated through the project reports.

(i, medium) A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning. Lecture material continually emphasizes that today's technology is transitory and that the student must learn the basics so that these may form a foundation upon which they will understand and build future technologies. The need to continually augment one's education is emphasized. Recent journal and conference papers and new developments in digital VLSI are brought into class.

(j, high) A knowledge of contemporary issues. Discussions of recent trends in memory and datapath logic are covered in class and assessed through exam questions.

(k, high) An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice. The students become very familiar with the operation and use of state-of-the-art industrial design automation tools, and are evaluated on the strength of project work completed with these tools.

Prepared By: Apurva Mishra

Last Revised: 12/14/2013