SSCS “PICO” Open-Source Chipathon

2024 SSCS PICO Open-Source Chipathon: Automating Analog Layout

Sign-up Deadline: May 10, 2024

The IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society is pleased to announce its fourth open-source integrated circuit (IC) design contest under the umbrella of its PICO Program (Platform for IC Design Outreach). While this contest is open to anyone (no restrictions), we encourage the participation of pre-college students, undergraduates, and geographical regions that are underrepresented within the IC design community.

The goal of this year’s event is to advance the automatic generation and open sharing of analog circuit layout cells to increase our community’s design productivity and to catch up with other fields where sharing and automation is a key enabler of progress (e.g., in machine learning).

Illustration of engineers of different backgrounds working around a chip

Contest Outline

  1. Interested individuals sign up using this form by May 10, 2024.
  2. Phase 1 (~June): Through a series of weekly meet-ups and training sessions, the participants learn to create basic one- or two-transistor layout generators using Python and open-source CMOS PDKs. Using Jupyter Notebooks hosted on Google Colab allows anyone with an internet connection to participate – no downloads or installations required! Relevant circuit examples can be found in [1], [2]. We will leverage code modules available with the OpenFASoC [3] environment.
  3. Phase 2 (~July): Interested participants define larger layout building blocks that they wish to automate (examples: comparator, bandgap, phase interpolator, OTA). Teaming among participants is encouraged to maximize collaboration and learning).
  4. Phase 3 (~August-September): Participants implement their generators and submit sample layouts and test structures for potential tape-out to an open-source MPW (tentatively SKY130).
  5. Phase 4 (~October-November): A jury evaluates the created generators/layouts and selects the test structures that will be taped out. The teams work together to assemble a shared database with all the designs and to complete the tapeout. Ideally, this phase will involve automated verification through CACE [4] or a similar tool.
  6. Phase 5 (TBD): The designs will be tested using lab measurements by a subset of participants and SSCS volunteers with access to lab facilities. Some of the test setups may be available for remote characterization. The obtained measurement data will be added to the repositories containing the layout generators.