Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - DEBUG (Automated correction methodologies for the design of high performance modern microprocessor integrated chips)

Computers have had a tremendous impact in all aspects of science and everyday life. They are used to support a plethora of everyday activities while they facilitate experiments not previously possible for a variety of scientific fields such as physics, biology, medicine, cosmology and mathematics. For the most part, this tremendous impact is the result of a sustained exponential performance growth. Modern circuits may contain up to several millions of transistors. For this reason, the experience of the human designer is tightly coupled with the use of automated Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools.

In the design of these high-performance circuits it has been observed that verification and debugging is a major bottleneck in the integrated circuit design flow, i.e. up to 70% of the overall design costs are due to verification and debugging with at least half of this effort dedicated to debugging. Verification is the process that tests if a design complies to its specification, and if the design does not pass this stage, debugging comes to identify the root cause of failure and fix it. Although there are many automated verification tools, debugging is still performed manually by the designer, a resource-intensive and time-consuming job.

The first objective of this project is the development of a set of automated CAD tools to facilitate the process of chip design debugging. Another objective of this Marie Curie grant is the training of highly qualified personnel in terms of graduate students who participated in the design of those tools and in the scientific dissemination of the results to premiere conferences and journals. This project also aimed to develop a state-of-the-art laboratory facility using FPGAs to the host university to accommodate education and research activities.

Finally, fundamental to this project has been the process of helping a world-class and mature N. American researcher ease his return in the European research community. This was achieved by providing the necessary funds to build a laboratory, attract graduate students and fund his research at an early stage of his European career.

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