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Wiring considerations in analog VLSI systems, with application to field-programmable networks


Sivilotti, Massimo Antonio (1991) Wiring considerations in analog VLSI systems, with application to field-programmable networks. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/stj4-kh72.


This thesis develops a theoretical model for the wiring complexity of wide classes of systems, relating the degree of connectivity of a circuit to the dimensionality of its interconnect technology. This model is used to design an efficient, hierarchical interconnection network capable of accommodating large classes of circuits. Predesigned circuit elements can be incorporated into this hierarchy, permitting semi-customization for particular classes of systems (e.g., photoreceptors included on vision chips). A polynomial-time programming algorithm for embedding the desired circuit graph onto the prefabricated routing resources is presented, and is implemented as part of a general design tool for specifying, manipulating and comparing circuit netlists.

This thesis presents a system intended to facilitate analog circuit design. At its core is a VLSI chip that is electrically configured in the field by selectively connecting predesigned elements to form a desired circuit, which is then tested electrically. The system may be considered a hardware accelerator for simulation, and its large capacity permits testing system ideas, which is impractical using current means. A fast-turnaround simulator permitting rapid conception and evaluation of circuit ideas is an invaluable aid to developing an understanding of system design in a VLSI context.

We have constructed systems using both reconfigurable interconnection switches and laser-programmed interconnect. Prototypes capable of synthesizing circuits consisting of over 1000 transistors have been constructed. The flexibility of the system has been demonstrated, and data from parametric tests have proven the validity of the approach.

Finally, this thesis presents several new circuits that have become key components in many analog VLSI systems. Fast, dense and provably safe one-phase latches and hierarchical arbiters are presented, as are a low-noise analog switch, an isotropic novelty filter, a dense, active high-resistance element, and a subthreshold differential amplifier with a large linear input range.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computer Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Mead, Carver
Thesis Committee:
  • Mead, Carver (chair)
  • Martin, Alain J.
  • Barr, Alan H.
  • Abu-Mostafa, Yaser S.
Defense Date:17 July 1990
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-07122007-134330
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2863
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:02 Aug 2007
Last Modified:19 Apr 2021 22:26

Thesis Files

PDF (Sivilotti_ma_1991.pdf) - Final Version
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