Limitations of GPT-like Models in IC Design Process and need of opensource PDKs/VSD-HDP
ChatGPT, as a language model, may not be able to replace VLSI physical design engineers, STA engineers, analogue designers, and physical verification engineers for several reasons.
One reason is that the IC design process is highly complex
, which is quite evident from past VSD-HDP participants and requires a deep understanding of the underlying technology, and process nodes, as well as the ability to make decisions based on trade-offs between different design constraints. GPT-like models can assist in automating certain tasks, but they are not yet able to replicate the level of expertise and decision-making capabilities of human engineers.
Another reason is that the PDKs (Process Design Kits)
used in the IC design process are often proprietary and not available to the public. This makes it difficult for GPT-like models to access the necessary information to perform the tasks required in IC design. This is where there is a need for opensource PDKs like SKY130 and there is a huge demand for people who understand production-grade PDKs, which is a core topic in VSD-HDP
Additionally, VLSI design is an iterative process, and it can take multiple rounds of design, simulation, and verification
to arrive at the final product. GPT-like models are not able to perform these tasks as well as human engineers, as they cannot use their intuition and experience to make design decisions that can save time and resources in the process. This is the exact point where we need open-source EDA tools and even more users who understand open-source and proprietary EDA tools usage. VSD-HDP
currently focuses on the open-source EDA toolchain, which is the best place to start and is completely under your control.
Furthermore, physical design engineers, STA engineers, analogue designers, and physical verification engineers are responsible for ensuring that the IC design meets the required specifications and constraints
. This requires a deep understanding of the underlying technology, as well as the ability to use specialized software and tools to verify the design. GPT-like models may not have the same level of expertise and understanding of the technology and tools used in the IC design process. This is where we need a lot of open-source IPs, which again is a core area of focus in VSD-HDP
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the use of GPT-like models in VLSI physical design and STA tasks is a rapidly evolving field
, and it is possible that in the future, these models may become more advanced and capable of taking on a greater role in the IC design process. However, it is unlikely that they will fully replace human engineers shortly.
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