IC Compiler II: SoC Design Planning


In this hands-on workshop, you will use IC Compiler II to create chip and block-level floorplans using a hierarchical (top-down) design planning approach. The focus is on multi-voltage (UPF) system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs with multiple levels of physical hierarchy, which can contain a mix of multiply-instantiated blocks (MIBs), black boxes, and partial netlists.

  • Day 1: gives you a quick overview of the DP flow, and then goes into the details of creating your initial flip-chip layout, and performing design exploration to decide on the chip's multi-level physical partitions. You then learn how to split chip level constraints and UPF. You will create block abstracts of the design and move on to automatic shaping of the blocks and voltage areas within the chip, as well as hierarchical macro and standard cell placement. This is in tandem with congestion and connectivity analysis.

  • Day 2: covers Pattern-based Power Network Synthesis (PPNS) to design a complex multi-voltage chip-level power network, which is then built for each sub block in an automated and distributed fashion. Power switch insertion is also discussed. Next, the discussion moves to pin placement, including topological constraints and a detailed discussion on feedthroughs, then into topics on hierarchical timing estimation and timing budgets, which are used for block implementation. Top-level integration and implementation as well as budget shells are then also discussed and how they are used for top-level implementation. The day wraps up by explaining how to use black boxes throughout the design planning flow.

The lectures are accompanied by hands-on labs.


At the end of this workshop you should be able to use IC Compiler II to:

  • Create an NDM design library
  • Read the Verilog outlines
  • Initialize the chip-level floorplan
  • Place the flip-chip bumps
  • Place the Signal IO drivers/pads
  • Explore the physical design hierarchy
  • Commit the physical sub-blocks
  • Split full design UPF and timing constraints
  • Create placement block abstracts
  • Shape and place blocks and voltage areas
  • Place macros and standard cells
  • Perform connectivity and congestion analysis
  • Insert power pads and connect them to the bumps
  • Build hierarchically distributed PG rings, meshes and connections for macros and standard cells using Pattern-based Power Network Synthesis
  • Insert boundary, end-cap and tap cells
  • Insert and connect power switches
  • Verify and analyze the power mesh
  • Perform pin placement including feedthroughs for all blocks
  • Estimate the design's timing to determine feasibility of the design
  • Create block budgets for implementation
  • Create budget shells for top-level design implementation
  • Use black boxes in the design planning flow

Audience Profile

ASIC, back-end, or layout designers who will be using IC Compiler II to perform design planning on multi-voltage SoC designs


An understanding of fundamental floorplanning concepts is required. It is assumed that the requirements to create a good floorplan are known.

While prior working knowledge of IC Compiler II or IC Compiler would be very helpful, it is not required. The workshop, however, does assume a basic understanding of ICC II design/timing setup and configuration concepts (corners/modes/scenarios).

Course Outline

Day 1

  • Introduction (Lecture only)
  • Initial Design Planning (Lecture + Lab)
  • Shaping and Placement (Lecture + Lab)

Day 2

  • Build the Power Network (Lecture + Lab)
  • Pins, Timing and Budgets (Lecture + Lab)
  • Using Black Boxes (Lecture only)

Synopsys Tools Used

  • IC Compiler II 2018.06-SP5