A Balanced-Mesh Clock Routing Technique for Performance Improvement

Hidenori SATO

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences   Vol.E80-A       pp.1489-1495
Publication Date: 1997/08/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8508
Type of Manuscript: Category: VLSI Design Technology and CAD
LSI,  CAD,  layout design,  clock skew,  partitioning,  routing,  MPEG2,  

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This paper presents a clock routing technique called Balanced-Mesh Method (BMM) which incorporates the advantages of two famous conventional-clock-routing techniques. One is the balanced-tree method (BTM) where the clock net is routed as a tree so that the delay times of clock signal are balanced, and the other is the fixed-mesh method (FMM) where the clock net is routed as a fixed mesh driven by a large buffer. In BMM, the clock net is routed as a set of relatively small meshes of interconnects driven by relatively small buffers. Each mesh covers an area called a Mesh-Routing Region (MR) in which its delay and skew can be suppressed within a certain range. These small meshes are connected by a balanced tree with the chip clock source as its root. To implement BMM, we developed an MR-partitioning program that partitions the circuit into MR's according to a set of pre-determined constraints on the number of flip-flops and the area in each MR, and a clock-global-routing program that provides each mesh routing and the tree routing connecting meshes. We applied BMM to the design of an MPEG2-encoder LSI and achieved a skew of 210ps. In addition, the experimental results show BMM yields the lowest power dissipation compared to conventional methods.