The Department of Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems

The integrated circuit and systems design department covers the development of design methods for various fields of application

The Circuit and Integrated Systems Design Department covers the development of design methods for various fields of application; with particular emphasis on the design, verification and testing of circuits and systems for conventional, alternative and post-CMOS computing technologies. In addition to this, we have proven that we are successfully applying the methods we have developed in complementary areas of research. In the following, a summary of our research interests and contributions is provided. In addition to this, you can find our publications on this page.

Please also note that there are dedicated pages which summarize our work on

Design for conventional computer technologies

The design of today’s computing devices (including embedded and cyber-physical systems) is one of the most complex issues facing electronic design automation (EDA) today. In order to handle the ever increasing complexity, designers are constantly introducing higher levels of abstraction. Today, register transfer level (RTL) and electronic system level (ESL) design is common. In our work, we develop algorithms that improve existing design and verification techniques for these levels of abstraction. At the same time, new levels of abstraction are taken into account, which elevates the design process to abstractions closer to the original specification provided in natural language. For this, modeling languages ​​such as UML or SysML as well as techniques from Natural Language Processing (NLP) are used. In this domain, we consider the design of the (textual) specification initially given to its first (formal) representation provided in terms of UML / OCL, SysML, MARTE, etc. This has led to contributions in areas such as

  • Mapping of natural language specifications to formal models,
  • Verification and debugging of formal models provided in UML or SysML,
  • Modeling and implementation of non-functional behaviors such as timing, and
  • Generic representation of functional and non-functional behavior from different means of description.

Next, we looked at how to ensure a (correct) realization of the resulting model, for example in terms of system implementation or circuit netlist. This resulted in contributions for

  • Verification and debugging of designs implemented at RTL and ESL and
  • Understanding of the design and visualization of circuits and systems implemented at RTL and ESL.

In addition to this, we also consider research questions at lower levels of abstraction. Here, physical issues (represented by fault patterns or power consumption patterns) must be considered in addition to the purely functional description. Specifically, we further contribute to the areas of

  • Automatic target generation at the door,
  • cost estimate,
  • the location and route as well as the layout of the ground, and
  • the design of low power interconnection encoders.

In these areas, we are also increasingly using Machine Learning, Reinforcement Learning, etc.

Design for alternative and post-CMOS computing technologies

While the previous decades have seen impressive developments in the design and construction of conventional computing devices (primarily CMOS-based), physical limitations and cost restrictions have led to a growing interest in alternatives. Quantum computing, reversible computing, microfluidic biochips, optical computing, memristors, DNA computing and other alternatives are under discussion. Besides the physical, biological or chemical aspects, these emerging technologies also require in-depth fundamental research on how to effectively design these future circuits and systems. In our work, we research appropriate design flows for alternative circuit and system technologies. This notably includes work on quantum computing and microfluidics.

For quantum computing, we develop methods for

  • Efficient performance and handling,
  • Simulation of quantum circuits,
  • Synthesis of quantum (and reversible) circuits,
  • Mapping of quantum circuits on real architectures, and
  • Verification of quantum calculations

For more details on our work in the field of quantum computing, please see this page.

For microfluidics, we are developing methods for

  • Simulation and
  • Design automation

For more details on our work in the field of microfluidics, please see this page.

In addition to this, we have also successfully started the search for other alternative technologies, namely

  • the design of adiabatic circuits,
  • the design of optical circuits, and
  • the design of memristor circuits.

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