Cell-based interconnect migration by hierarchical optimization

Eugene Shaphir, Ron Y. Pinter, Shmuel Wimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Fueled by Moore's Law, VLSI market competition and economic considerations dictates the introduction of new processor's microarchitecture in a two-year cycle called "Tick-Tock" marketing strategy. A new processor is first manufactured in the most advanced stable process technology, followed in a one-year delay by introducing chips comprising same microarchitecture but manufactured in a newer scaled process technology, thus allowing higher production volumes, better performance and lower cost. Tick-Tock is enabled by the automation of chip's layout conversion from an older into a newer manufacturing process technology. This is a very challenging computational task, involving billions of polygons. We describe an algorithm of a hierarchy-driven optimization method for cell-based layout conversion used at Intel for already several product generations. It transforms the full conversion problem into successive problems of significantly smaller size, having feasible solutions if and only if the full-chip problem does. The proposed algorithm preserves the design intent, its uniformity and maintainability, a key for the success of large-scale projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-174
Number of pages14
JournalIntegration, the VLSI Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Cell-based design
  • Design hierarchy
  • Interconnects
  • Layout compaction
  • VLSI design migration


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