High performance VLSI digital systems are composed of millions of electronic devices that exhibit switching properties. The analysis and design of these systems can be approached at different levels of abstraction, with the advantages and limitations corresponding to each such level [10, 11]. Abstract representations are used to hide the details and highlight the essential features of a system in a specific context. For example, the system architects of a VLSI integrated circuit may choose Booleanor switching algebra as the formal mathematical framework to describe a complex computational procedure [12, 13]. Circuit designers, on the other hand, may be interested in active and passive circuit elements such as transistors and interconnect, as well as in the underlying physical laws that govern the operation of these elements [10, 14, 15]. Aspects of the VLSI design issues covered in this monograph overlap several levels of abstraction and require familiarity with the terminology and phenomena at each of these levels. The information described in this chapter provides a fundamental background for motivating the use of clock distribution networks in VLSI-based synchronous digital systems.

The essential characteristics of a digital VLSI system are reviewed in this chapter. First, the basic signal properties related to digital circuits are presented in Section 2.1. Following this description, the principles of operation of a synchronous digital system are discussed in Section 2.2. The VLSI circuit design process is summarized in Section 2.3 followed by some concluding remarks in Section 2.4.


Logic Gate Clock Signal Combinational Logic Clock Period Synchronous System 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

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