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The University of Southampton

ELEC6231 VLSI Design Project

Module Overview

Design hierarchical modules using a layout editor. Demonstrate project management and time management skills including working to deadlines and planning your work beyond the next deadline. Communicate your work accurately and concisely through written reports.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • A complete integrated circuit design flow based on a standard cell design approach
  • The use of CAD tools in the design process
  • The importance of a systematic approach to design and test in order to reduce the problems of debugging large systems
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Manage a complex system design through the use of hierarchy and a modular design and test strategy
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Work as a member of a team.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Model complex digital systems using a hardware description language
  • Verify function and performance of designs using digital and analogue simulators


Preparation: Within each team, students will undertake research relevent to the system design and present their results to the team. System Design: Having completed a cell library it will be used in the construction of a large digital system. The tasks undertaken will include: - Interpretation of the specification - Outline block design - HDL Specification - Detailed module design - Module place & route - Flooplanning & global layout - Simulation at all stages A number of deliverables will be produced in connection with these tasks. Fabrication: The best student design will be chosen for fabrication, with the fabricated chip being used in subsequent projects by other students. Note that where a group project is not appropriate a suitably tailored individual project or programme of work is substituted. This is the case for part time students for whom collaboration is not practicable.

Learning and Teaching

Wider reading or practice22
Completion of assessment task70
Supervised time in studio/workshop30
Preparation for scheduled sessions8
Follow-up work8
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Gajski D D, (1997). Principles of Digital Design. 

Weste N, Harris D, (2011). Integrated Circuit Design: A Circuits and Systems Perspective. 


Assessment Strategy

Laboratory sessions are scheduled in the labs on level 2 of the Zepler building Length of each session: 3 hours Number of sessions completed by each student: 12 Max number of students per session: unlimited Demonstrator:student ratio: 1:12 Preferred teaching weeks: 1 to 12


MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: ELEC6230

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