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Thu, September 23, 2021
EDA tools have been used routinely in the digital design flow for decades, but despite valiant efforts from the research community, analog design has stubbornly resisted automation. Several recent developments are helping turn the tide, driving wider adoption of automation tools within the analog design flow. This talk explains the reasons for this change, and then describes recent efforts in analog layout automation with particular focus on the ALIGN (Analog Layout, Intelligently Generated from Netlists) project. ALIGN is a joint university-industry effort that is developing an open-source analog layout flow, leveraging a blend of traditional algorithmic methods with machine learning based approaches. ALIGN targets a wide variety of designs – low frequency analog circuits, wireline circuits for high-speed links, RF/wireless circuits, and power delivery circuits – under a single framework. The flow is structured modularly and is being built to cater to a wide range of designer expertise: the novice designer could use it in “push-button” mode, automatically generating GDSII layout from a SPICE netlist, while users with greater levels of expertise could bypass parts of the flow to incorporate their preferences and constraints.
The talk will present an overview of both the technical challenges and logistical barriers to building an open-source tool flow while respecting the confidentiality requirements of secured IP information. Finally, the application of ALIGN to a variety of designs will be demonstrated.