Section One: ASIC Management

picture of managers looking at schedule


Section Objective:

To provide ASIC managers with a guide to plan and supervise a complex ASIC program from setting requirements to delivery of qualified flight parts.

As ASICs become increasingly common in space electronics, ASIC program managers and project leaders must understand and prepare to deal with a wide range of complex issues. Not only must you track changing technologies, you must also accomplish your primary development tasks on time and within budget.

In today's electronics systems, ASICs offer your applications many advantages over off-the-shelf devices. These include:

In meeting NASA's demands for faster, better, and cheaper systems, ASIC managers face enormous challenges in applying complex microelectronics. The modern ASIC marketplace has driven simulation and other automation issues to the forefront, causing the tools that support them to change at an ever-increasing pace. The pressures of faster time-to-market and avoiding obsolescence may force you to accept new tools, approaches, and technologies at an uncomfortable rate. You may already find your skills stretched as you repeatedly cope with tool selection, account for learning curves on new tools and technologies, and attempt to achieve the right skill mix in your group.

The added responsibilities of designing ASICs, as opposed to using off-the-shelf devices, make certain management activities crucial to the success of your ASIC program. This section discusses management approaches to completing these activities in the appropriate sequence. The five chapters contain practical, industry-wide approaches to the following:

Completing the full list of these activities and securing the necessary resources provides the foundations for a successful high-reliability ASIC program. If you pay close attention to each of these activities and ask enough questions, you will be well on your way to obtaining high-reliability ASICs.

In this section, the authors assume ASIC managers and their design groups have a background in off-the- shelf VLSI microelectronics board design and general microelectronics-based system design management.

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