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Research in VLSI/CAD works toward developing new algorithms and design methodologies to efficiently design VLSI ICs. VLSI researchers leverage knowledge of VLSI circuits and algorithms to devise VLSI design methodologies that allow the VLSI industry to design correct, faster, smaller and more power-efficient integrated circuits. Research in VLSI/CAD has proved to be one of the important reasons for the VLSI boom in recent years. Applications of such research abound in current industrial practice.

The VLSI/CAD program focuses on three areas.

Graduate Courses

ECEN 4109/5109, VLSI System Design
ECEN 5129, Simulation Tools for VLSI Systems
ECEN 5139, Formal Verification of VLSI
ECEN 6139, Logic Synthesis of VLSI

Research Topics

Current research topics include:


M. Lightner (Ph.D., Carnegie-Mellon) learning technologies, cognitive assistance, assistive technology

Fabio Somenzi (Ph.D., Politecnico di Torino, Italy), formal verification of digital systems, VLSI logic synthesis.

Emeritus Faculty

G. Hachtel, (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley), formal verification of digital systems, VLSI logic synthesis, circuit simulation.


The VLSI/CAD laboratory has a network of sevral fast Linux computers. VLSI CAD software for computer design and simulation is available on these machines, and includes VIS, SIS, SPICE, SPACE3D and MAGIC.

Current Research Support

Research support is provided by the Semiconductor Research Consortium. Assistantships and internships funded by this agency are available to qualified students.