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CAREER: Investigating Circuit and Physical Level Issues in High-Performance Deep Submicrometer Circuits

Semiconductor technologies exhibited explosive growth in complexity and speed over the last two decades. Since the early 1980s, the operating frequencies have increased from a few megahertz to several gigahertz and the operating frequencies of leading microprocessors are expected to exceed 10 gigahertz in few years. Also, the spacing between devices and interconnect have dramatically decreased due to the continuous scaling down of the technology feature size. These trends have led to issues and challenges in the design and analysis of high performance integrated circuits that previous generations did not exhibit. Most of these issues are at the circuit and interconnect (physical) levels. Also, these issues are expected only to increase in importance in future generations of integrated circuits since frequencies and device densities will only increase. <br/> This project involves a five-year plan to develop rigorous research among many of these high-performance deep submicrometer issues, which is necessary for correctly designing future generations of integrated circuits with operating frequencies in excess of ten gigahertz. This research is also directly applicable to many emerging technologies and nanotechnologies due to the common issues at such high frequencies. This research specifically investigates the following issues: 1-Increased coupling and crosstalk noise, 2- Frequency dependent interconnect models, 3- High temperature effects on the performance of integrated circuits and the reliability of interconnect, and 4-Physical design techniques including noise and power as parameters. <br/> As part of this effort, the education plan aims at creating a dynamic curriculum that copes with the advances in the VLSI field, since the VLSI field is one of the fastest changing areas of knowledge. Another goal of this education plan is to increase and stress intuitive understanding in VLSI education which is necessary for efficient problem solving and innovation. Another primary goal of the education plan is to encourage collaboration between industry and academia via internships and industrial research partners.

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