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The Effect of LSI Technology on the Theory of Modular Computer Design

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131332D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 12 page(s) / 45K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

A. D. Friedman: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

Istituto di Elaborazione dell' Informazione Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

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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 Effect of LSI Technology on the Theory of Modular Computer Design

A. D. Friedman

George Washington University

Luca Simoncini

Istituto di Elaborazione dell' Informazione Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

(Image Omitted: Logic-oriented and computation-oriented approaches to design offer insights into the problems of modularity.)

It is not unusual for theory to precede technology. In the past, we have repeatedly seen theories developed that could not be practically implemented at the time, followed by technological advances that enabled designers to rediscover those "impractical" theories and modify them for a later generation.

It should therefore come as no surprise that for the past 15 years many papers on digital system design have begun with such proclamations as "With the advent of low-cost LSI microelectronics, the previous design goals are no longer relevant." We are, it would seem, in the midst of a series of technological advances that are at once forcing us to re-examine old concepts as well as address a new generation of new and challenging problems.

The theory of digital system design has proceeded along two different paths -- a logic~oriented approach dealing with the design of logic circuits that have desirable properties and can perforn. arbitrary functions, and a computation- oriented approach, dealing with elements that perform some specific type(s) of computation, including ways in which these elements can be connected together and efficiently utilized to solve problems.

With the advent of LSI technology the optimization parameters associated with digital system design on a logic level changed from the minimization of the number of components to problems of modularity (systems should be designed using a relatively small number of different types of components), interconnection structure (the logical connections between modules should have a geometrically regular and simple structure and be relatively few in number, thus reducing the pin requirements of the modules), and maintainability (with the increased size of systems made possible by LSI, the testing and diagnosis of such systems become much more difficult and more important). On a computation level the speed of computation and the required communication paths between computing elements become of dominant concern.

In the next section we will consider "logic- oriented" approaches related to uniform realizations of highly structured and modular logic circuits which can perform arbitrary computations. Then we deal with " computation-oriented...