Teaching IC Design with the ARM Cortex-M0 DesignStart Processor and Synopsys 90nm Educational Design Kit

David Flynn1,  Troy Wood2,  Phil Dworsky2,  Vazgen Melikyan3,  Eduard Babayan3
1ARM, Ltd., 2Synopsys, 3Synopsys Armenia


Teaching IC Design in a university environment presents key challenges that include lack of access to proprietary semiconductor foundry information and real-world designs. These are required to enable students to combine theoretical knowledge and practical skills. This paper presents course development and teaching experience based on the ARM® Cortex™-M0 DesignStart™ [1] processor and the Synopsys 90nm Educational Design Kit [EDK] [2], both available to the university community, to address these challenges. The reference design and laboratory projects are aimed at allowing students to perform complex, real-world IC designs in a university environment, giving, students practical experience with a real digital IC design flow. Teaching experience demonstrates the short course is effective as an accompaniment to a full-semester synthesis course.