Processing Integrated Circuit Layouts Using Python: A Case Study On Rapid Prototyping

Srinivasan Jagannathan, Nareg Sinenian, Jared Starman


This paper narrates our experience developing, in a relatively short time, an application to rasterize layers of integrated circuit (IC) layout definitions specified in the Calma Graphic Data System (GDS) II file format. We developed software to parse GDS-II IC layouts to generate a bitmap of regions of the chip that are filled with material such as metal, poly-silicon, etc. Such bitmaps are useful for analyzing the geometry of IC design and implementation. We developed the software in the Python programming language, reputed for use in rapid application development environments. Our experience developing and validating the application provides useful insights into the general methodology of iterative development, and the suitability of Python in non-traditional, rapid prototyping environments. Our experience shows that the choice of a versatile programming language can greatly improve productivity in a rapid application development environment where there is incomplete information at the outset.

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