Electric – Electric VLSI Design System

Electric is a sophisticated electrical CAD system that can handle many forms of circuit design, including custom IC layout (ASICs), schematic drawing, hardware description language specifications, and electro-mechanical hybrid layout.

The system includes many tools for analyzing and synthesizing circuitry.

Electric has an unusual way of doing integrated circuit (IC) layout. The system considers integrated circuits to be composed of nodes and arcs. Nodes are circuit elements such as transistors and contacts. Arcs connect the nodes. This enables layout constraints to be added to the arcs.

Features include:

  • Design rule checking.
  • Electrical rule checking.
  • Simulation and simulation interface (many options).
  • Generation (ROMs, PLAs, Pad Frames, etc.).
  • Compaction – squeezes layout down to minimal design-rule spacing. It does this by doing single-axis compaction, alternating horizontal and vertical directions until no further space can be found.
  • Routing – contains a number of different subsystems for creating wires. Two stitching routers can be used in array-based design to connect adjoining cells. A maze-router runs individual wires. A river-router is available for running multiple parallel wires. The sea-of-gates router handles many wires in arbitrary connection situations. The clock-router builds balanced trees that guarantee constant-length paths to each destination cell. Finally, there are six experimental routers, based on the A* and the Lee/Moore algorithms.
  • VHDL compilation.
  • Silicon compilation – the process of converting from a hardware description language (such as Verilog or VHDL) directly to placed and routed silicon. Electric has two ways of accomplishing this task.
  • Network consistency checking (LVS).
  • Logical Effort analysis.
  • Project Management.
  • Displays designs including:
    • MOS (many CMOS and nMOS variations).
    • Bipolar and BiCMOS.
    • Schematics and printed circuits.
    • Digital filters, Temporal logic.
    • Artwork.
  • Supports the following file formats:
    • CIF I/O.
    • GDS I/O.
    • EDIF I/O.
    • DXF I/O.
    • SUE Input.
    • VHDL I/O.
    • Verilog Output.
    • EAGLE, PADS, and ECAD Output.
    • PostScript, HPGL, and PNG output.
  • Cross-platform support – runs on all major operating system.

Support: Manual, FAQ
Developer: The CAD research group
License: GNU General Public License


Electric is written in Java. Learn Java with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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