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The Use of LSI Modules in Computer Structures: Trends and Limitations

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131328D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 15 page(s) / 54K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

D. P. Siewiorek: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

Advances in LSI technology are beginning to outstrip architectural innovations and their implementation, calling for greater software prod activity and development of better design aids. We are in the midst of a revolution, fueled by integrated circuit technology, that since its beginning some 20 years ago has provided an exponential increase in logic functions per unit cost. A single chip today contains the equivalent of entire computer systems of 15 years ago. The exponential pace of this trend is having a profound impact on the way systems are designed. Our analysis of integrated circuit technology leads us to a number of premises which we will substantiate in this article. First, the technology will continue its exponential growth for at least five to 10 years. Second, even the most complex multiple processor systems of today could be fabricated on a small number of chips by 1983, assuming development of designs which can overcome LSI limitations such as those on the number of pin-outs. Third, such systems may not be usable or even feasible to build unless designers evolve new architectural and software concepts to absorb the capacity offered by the technology. Fourth, innovative computer design aids will be needed for the design and verification of chips whose complexity continues to grow exponentially.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1978 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

The Use of LSI Modules in Computer Structures: Trends and Limitations

D. P. Siewiorek , D. E. Thomas , and

D. L. Scharfetter

Carnegie-Mellon University

Advances in LSI technology are beginning to outstrip architectural innovations and their implementation, calling for greater software prod activity and development of better design aids.

We are in the midst of a revolution, fueled by integrated circuit technology, that since its beginning some 20 years ago has provided an exponential increase in logic functions per unit cost. A single chip today contains the equivalent of entire computer systems of 15 years ago. The exponential pace of this trend is having a profound impact on the way systems are designed.

Our analysis of integrated circuit technology leads us to a number of premises which we will substantiate in this article. First, the technology will continue its exponential growth for at least five to 10 years. Second, even the most complex multiple processor systems of today could be fabricated on a small number of chips by 1983, assuming development of designs which can overcome LSI limitations such as those on the number of pin-outs. Third, such systems may not be usable or even feasible to build unless designers evolve new architectural and software concepts to absorb the capacity offered by the technology. Fourth, innovative computer design aids will be needed for the design and verification of chips whose complexity continues to grow exponentially.

IC technology

Silicon integrated circuits are produced with one of two device technologies -- bipolar or metal- oxide semiconductor. Bipolar digital technology initially catered to the system designer's familiarity with logic formed using discrete components (resistors, diodes, and transistors). In the design of discrete components, the cost of a logic function is minimized by minimizing the number of transistors, which are expensive. Just the opposite is true for integrated logic circuits: IC technology is optimized for the fabrication of transistors; hence the space required for a transistor is no more and often less than that required for resistors or other components. Since the circuits are batch-fabricated on a chip, the chip cost is directly related to the space consumed by components and their associated interconnections. Thus IC technology evolved from resistor- transistor logic to diode-transistor logic to (multiple- emitter) transistor-transistor logic, seeking smaller silicon area and improved performance per logic function.

The multiple-emitter tr...