Table of Contents
VLSI Design
Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 21-34

Tuning Strategies for Global Interconnects in High-Performance Deep-Submicron ICs

1UCLA Computer Science Dept., 3713 Boelter Hall, Los Angeles 90095-1596, CA, USA
2Silicon Graphics, lnc., 2011 N. Shoreline Blvd., 40L-175, Mountain View 94039, CA, USA

Received 7 September 1998; Accepted 20 November 1998

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Interconnect tuning is an increasingly critical degree of freedom in the physical design of high-performance VLSI systems. By interconnect tuning, we refer to the selection of line thicknesses, widths and spacings in multi-layer interconnect to simultaneously optimize signal distribution, signal performance, signal integrity, and interconnect manufacturability and reliability. This is a key activity in most leading-edge design projects, but has received little attention in the literature. Our work provides the first technology-specific studies of interconnect tuning in the literature. We center on global wiring layers and interconnect tuning issues related to bus routing, repeater insertion, and choice of shielding/spacing rules for signal integrity and performance. We address four basic questions. (1) How should width and spacing be allocated to maximize performance for a given line pitch? (2) For a given line pitch, what criteria affect the optimal interval at which repeaters Should be inserted into global interconnects? (3) Under what circumstances are shield wires the optimum technique for improving interconnect performance? (4) In global interconnect with repeaters, what other interconnect tuning is possible? Our study of question (4) demonstrates a new approach of offsetting repeater placements that can reduce worst-case cross-chip delays by over 30% in current technologies.