ECEN 6003 — Digital Circuit Design

Summer 2003

Instructor 	Sunil P Khatri
Office:		ECOT432
Phone:		5-1962
Class time  :   N.A. (tape library course) 
Office Hours:	M    1:00pm - 2:00pm
 		F    1:00pm - 2:00pm
		or by appointment		

Course Objective

This course covers several aspects of digital circuit design. Starting with device equations, we will delve into several areas of digital circuit design, including recent changes in circuit design styles and future trends in digital circuit design.

The goal of the class is to take you through a tour of the issues a typical circuit designer in industry deals with, and the design techniques they utilize. The focus is on custom digital VLSI design. At the end of this class, you would have at your disposal an understanding of the analysis techniques and tools that are required for a VLSI circuit designer to effectively function in today’s industry.


Graduate standing, or upper division undergraduate standing, with some previous course or practical experience in VLSI devices and layout. If you dont meet the requisites and are still very interested in the class, please see me.

Course Outline

             Overview of device fundamentals
             Gate and wire delays and their shift in importance.
             Different circuit design styles
                static CMOS
                dynamic CMOS
                Pass Transistor design
                SOI implications
                GaAs implications
             Simulating critical paths on a large chip
                long data/address paths
             Memory design fundamentals
                types of memory cells
                design considerations for memory
             3-Dimensional capacitive parasitics.
                reasons for their importance
                using 3-d extractors
             Transmission lines
                on-chip clock nets
                board nets
             Packaging issues
                inductive effects
                different packaging technologies.
                economic considerations of different package styles
             Off-chip I/O drivers design considerations
             On-chip clock distribution and generation schemes.
                Phas locked loops
                H-tree clock distribution
             Processing variations and their effects.
             Product Engineering
                Schmoo plots
             Differences in design approaches between arrayed and random logic.
             Power / ground distribution and noise.

Software Tools

The class project and some homeworks will involve hands-on use of SPICE (a circuit simulator), SPACE-3D (a 3-D parasitic extractor). SPICE can be run on Linux systems, and SPACE-3D on Linux/Solaris/HP systems.

Students will be given accounts on machines in CU where these tools are installed. Additionally, if students want to install these tools on their own machines at home, instructions will be provided on this web-site.


The class will be taught from notes which will be distributed on this website. These notes draw from several sources, and can be considered comprehensive. If you prefer to buy a textbook for your reference, you may consider these text books, in order of utility


  • Principles of CMOS VLSI Design – a systems perspective – Weste and Eshraghian
  • Digital Integrated Circuits – A Design Perspective – Rabaey
  • The design and analysis of VLSI circuits – Glasser and Dobberpuhl.

    Homework, Exams, and Grading

                 20% 4-6 Homework assignments
                 40% 2 Mid-term assignments
                 40% Research-oriented class project in lieu of final exam.
                 The class project is one of the most important parts of
                 this class. It will enable you to dive deeper into a
                 particular topic from the class.

    Homework will be assigned at the start of the summer term and will be due before the end of the term. You are encouraged to turn in homework in a timely fashion so that you can stay abreast with the class material. You are welcome to work together on homework, but you should not turn in identical solutions, or one solution for multiple students.

    Lectures, Homework, and Other Postings

    Lecture Notes:Set 1 in pdf or postscript format.

    Set 2 in pdf or postscript format.

    Set 3 in pdf or postscript format.

    Set 4 in pdf or postscript format.

    Set 5 in pdf or postscript format.

    Set 6 in pdf or postscript format.

    Set 7 in pdf or postscript format.

    Set 8 in pdf or postscript format.

    Set 9 in pdf or postscript format.

    Set 10 in ppt format.

    Set 11 in pdf or postscript format.

    Set 12 in pdf or postscript format.

    Homework assignments and solutions:

    Midterm solutions:

    Sunil P Khatri / University of Colorado at Boulder /