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Understanding hierarchical design


Rowson, James Allely (1980) Understanding hierarchical design. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


With the exponential improvement in integrated circuit technology comes the problem of how to design systems containing millions of devices. This thesis presents a new look at hierarchical design based on the Caltech structured design methodology.

The hierarchy is separated into two parts: leaf cells, containing no instances of other cells, and composition cells, containing only instances of other cells. A leaf cell can be implemented in many different representations. A representation consists of a set of leaf cells and a composition rule that builds correct higher level cells.

The separated hierarchy is suitable for mathematical analysis by the use of Curry's theory of combinators. In this form, a hierarchy is represented by a mathematical operator that produces a digital system from the leaf cells. The question of hierarchical equivalence is examined.

Three sample composition rules, or algorithms, are presented as examples. The SLAP system provides a geometry composition rule that produces the mask description of a system given the geometries of the leaf cells. In analogy to TYPEing in a programming language, two representations that enforce a certain design style are discussed. The first TYPE system guarantees signal integrity. The second TYPE system guarantees mutual exclusion between the sources on a bus.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computer Science
Thesis Availability:Restricted to Caltech community only
Research Advisor(s):
  • Mead, Carver
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:15 April 1980
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-12062006-104710
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4816
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:22 Dec 2006
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 03:12

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