Very-large-scale integration (VLSI) is the process of creating integrated circuits by combining thousands of transistor-based circuits into a single chip. VLSI began in the 1970s when complex semiconductor and communication technologies were being developed. The microprocessor is a VLSI device. The term is no longer as common as it once was, as chips have increased in complexity into the hundreds of millions of transistors.
The first semiconductor chips held one transistor each. Subsequent advances added more and more transistors, and as a consequence more individual functions or systems were integrated over time. The first integrated circuits held only a few devices, perhaps as many as ten diodes, transistors, resistors and capacitors, making it possible to fabricate one or more logic gates on a single device. Now known retroactively as “small-scale integration” (SSI), improvements in technique led to devices with hundreds of logic gates, known as large-scale integration (LSI), i.e. systems with at least a thousand logic gates. The same process led to ICs with thousands of devices, becoming LSI. Current technology has moved far past this mark and today’s microprocessors have many millions of gates and hundreds of millions of individual transistors.
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Design of VLSI Systems – 11 Chapters (HTML)
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