Analog Integrated Circuit Design Area Estimation

Abstract

Accurately estimating the design size of an analog integrated circuit is widely considered to be very difficult, if not impossible. Indeed, many analog designers wait for full layout implementation before incorporating analog blocks into chip-level floorplanning, while other designers use a rule-of-thumb estimation method. This study assessed the accuracy of the rule-of-thumb, to determine if it provides a useful estimation method. This research used 280 real-world circuits and comparing the rule-of-thumb area estimates against the area of the final hand-crafted layouts. The study then assessed Pulsic’s Animate Preview tool, and compared it against the rule-of-thumb method, and determined the usefulness of this tool as an area estimation method. The rule-of-thumb method was found to give poor estimation results, with a wide spread of estimates that varied greatly from the final hand-crafted layout area. In contrast, Animate Preview was shown to produce area estimates with much greater accuracy and precision, with a standard deviation in estimation error that was more than 7x smaller than the rule-of-thumb method.