SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — A new suite of benchmarks that
should help facilitate research in IC placement, floorplanning, and
routing was put to the test in a placement contest at the International
Symposium on Physical Design (ISPD) here Wednesday (April 6).
Winner of that contest was APlace, a general analytic placement engine
developed at the University of California at San Diego. Second place
went to mFar, a quadratic placer with a fixed-point addition from the
University of California at Santa Barbara. Third place was shared by
Dragon from the University of California at Los Angeles and mPL, also
More significant than the actual contest, however, is the new
ISPD2005 benchmark suite itself, which is directly derived from
industrial ASIC designs. It spans circuit sizes ranging from 210,000 to
2.1 million placeable objects, and preserves the physical structure of
the designs, unlike previous suites.
The widely-used MCNC and ISPD98 benchmark suites have become
"pretty outdated," said Gi-Joon Nam, ISPD placement context organizer
and research staff member for IBM's Austin research laboratory. "We
felt it was time to release real benchmarks that reflect real design
constraints," he said. "It is pretty safe to say that these designs
represent the real physical design challenges of today and tomorrow."
Nam said he was very impressed with all of the entries in the
contest. "It was really obvious that APlace was the best placer this
year in terms of wiring, and because it placed first in every single
benchmark," he said.
While the placers in the contest come from the academic world,
organizers said that commercial placement tools use much of the same
technology. The contest, however, evaluated legality and wire length,
not routability, which is a key concern for commercial placement tools.