Gallium arsenide — a semicustom approach

Gallium arsenide — a semicustom approach

'R & D reports' surveys the recent scientific and technical literature, highlighting papers on the research, development and application of microproce...

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'R & D reports' surveys the recent scientific and technical literature, highlighting papers on the research, development and application of microprocessor-based systems.

Marshall, J and Van Dyne, D

Computer architectures

CAD, CAE, CASE, C A T - computeraided design, engineering, software engineering and test--are all now familiar to microsystem designers as availability of design automation tools and manufacturing facilities enable them to design custom-made rather than use off-the-shelf devices. On the hardware side, five categories of application-specific ICs (ASICs) are examined by Collett: programmable logic devices (PLDs), gate arrays, standard cells, silicon compiled chips and handcrafted fullcustom ICs. Many designers will opt for PLDs rather than gate arrays, Collett argues in a subsequent article. Quick turnaround time has been the primary advantage of PLDs, but their architectures have often been too constraining. Manufacturers are now addressing the problem by adding extra logic to the basic AND-OR structure of PLDs. Design tools for PLDs are also advancing, says Holley, reducing design times from days to hours. A number of CAE workstations have emerged to support board design and VLSI test tasks. The emphasis of these tools is on increasing design productivity and they involve extensive computing power explain, respectively, Khokhani et aL and Lai. While hardware design continues to leap forward, there is a crisis in software development and productivity, says Meng. Computer-aided software engineering (CASE) is not new, but it has been confined largely to microprocessor development. Now software engineers, like their hardware counterparts, increasingly have CAE tools they can use. The principal difficulty remaining is the integration of different CASE tools. Integration of design automation tools is the theme taken by Marshall and Van Dyne. Refinements of

Godfrey, M D 'Innovation in computational architecture and design' ICL Tech. J. Vol 5 No 1 (May 1986) pp 18-31 The motivations for innovation in computational architecture and design are identified to be VLSI technology and application architectures. The paper explains a range of architectures--from MIMD to SISD or Von Neumann (but not MISD)-- covering multiprocessors, arrays, dataflow machines, vector processors and RISCs.

Computer integrated manufacturing Biemens, F P M 'The design of distributed transport systems as a major standard interface in computer integrated manufacturing' Comput. in Industry Vol 7 No 4 (August 1986) pp 319-331

Design automation Collett, R 'ASICs: take your pick' pp 29-36

Collett, R 'Programmable logic declares war on gate arrays' pp 32-39*

Holley, M 'Smart tools pp 72-75

ease PLD

design'

Khokhani, K, Rogoyski, E, Chou, A and Lin, J 'Advanced algorithms enhance board layout' pp 56-60

Lai, L-W L 'Bridging the gap between VLSI design and test' pp 61-64

vol 70 no 8 october 1986

'Integrating CAE, CAD and CASE' pp 40-46

Meng, B 'The case for CASE' pp 77-80 Digital Des. Vol 16 No 7 (June 1986) *Vol 16 No 8 (July 1986)

individual tools will only produce diminishing returns unless data transfer between them is also automated, they say. Some companies are now beginning to offer integrated design tools.

Development systems Albetengo, G 'A workstation for the development of iAPX186 based multiprocessor systems' Int. J. Mini & MicrocompuL Vol 8 No 1 (1986) pp 26-29 A workstation based on a DEC PDP-11/03 minicomputer has been built that monitors up to seven iAPX186 microprocessors by means of a simple interface circuit and a supervisory program resident in the targets.

Hardware Furht, B 'Evaluation and selection of 16-bit microprocessors' InL I. Mini & MicrocompuL Vol 8 No 1 (1986) pp 14-27 Presents the criteria, methodology and data used in selecting a 16-bit microprocessor, covering the 8086 and 80286, MC68000 and 68010, Z8001 and 8002, and the NS16016 and 16032.

Wilson, O 'Gallium arsenide-- a semicustom approach' Digital Des. Vol 16 No 7 (June 1986) pp 89-91 High speed and low power consumption are the factors motivating the infant technology of GaAs. Three types of GaAs devices are being d e v e l o p e d - gate arrays, static RAMs and off-the-shelf logic parts--in the main targetted for military use. Currently, however, GaAs is expensive and the lack of automatic test equipment together with nonstandard packaging limit its use. Bipolar ECL parts will be the principal competitors, says Wilson, who examines the likely impact of GaAs.

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