An interaction has taken place between current research in theoretical computer science and practical applications in the area of VLSI design. This has mainly been initiated by the following two facts. Firstly, chip design without the assistance of computers is no longer conceivable. And secondly, the construction of permanently more powerful chips is reaching the absolute frontiers of current possibilities and capabilities. In 1994, the design error in the Intel Pentium chip
with its economical consequences has made particularly aware of these difficulties.
One of the main problems is the huge number of possible combinations of individual chip elements (giving a combinatorial explosion). For such chips, the problem of representing and manipulating the functional behavior of the chip within a computer has already become almost impossible. Here, a fruitful connection with a core topic of theoretical computer science, the design of data structures and efficient algorithms, has been achieved. This connection is established by means of ordered binary decision diagrams (OBDDs)
, which have led to performance improvements and breakthroughs in many CAD projects all over the world.
This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the foundations of this interdisciplinary research topic and discusses important applications in computer-aided circuit design. It originated from undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Trier
as well as from relevant research projects.
On the one hand, the book is directed to students, researchers and lecturers who work or teach in the areas of algorithms, data structures, or VLSI design and are looking for access to the active research field of OBDDs, or are interested in paradigmatic connections between theory and practice. On the other hand, the book is intended to provide a source for all interested CAD engineers, VLSI designers, and users of CAD tools who are looking for a self-contained presentation of OBDD technology, or are interested in questions of modeling and methodology in CAD projects. The general prerequisites for reading the book are only some basic knowledge in computer science and a motivation in studying ideas that make CAD tools work efficiently.