By X-Mun

The more I learn about pBirdshotography, the more I realize my job has a very close relation to it. I worked in the semi-conductor industry and had done a lot of floor planning and placement. By the end of the day, the design has to close timing and meet performance. It sound so technical, but yet the process is similar to completing a art piece in photography.

I am a fan of Ansel Adams’ B&W landscape pictures. Lately, I borrowed one of his book from the library (The Print). It talks about bringing the photograph to “life”. It has a statement mentioned about “the negative is a intermediate media between the subject and the print”. And lead me think more about the steps of translating a simple well-taken photograph into a master art piece. The light condition has to be right and the composition has to tell a story of the scene. With everything in-place, it creates a flow in which visually pleasing. Now clicks on the shutter and capture it onto the media.

To bring the shot to life, we enhance the image to tell the story. For me, I mainly fine tune the contrast and adjust the tone curve to highlight the subject and maybe some cropping. Is is not done yet, until you pick out the correct type of paper to be print on. Different type of paper translates the mood of the print differently. Examples; a glossy print mostly looks sharper and brighter, where else, a matte print gives you a soft and mellow feeling,

Now, lets look at my job. I started out with a synthesize netlist and work on the floor planning of the die. Guess what??!! Placing the pads correctly, the memories and custom macros will yield a nice flow of the logic and translate to timing closure. So how does this relates to photography??!! To me, this is the part of taking the perfect shot. When the main components are in the right place, you will get the best timing result (similar to a well composed shot).

In photography, we use photo editing software. In my job,  I will have to use a placement tool to achieve the best placement of the standard logic. With careful tweaking of the blockages and pre-placed cells to assist the flow, I can yield or control the critical data path. Just like what we do in photography to adjust for the contrast and highlight. There are no easy way to get the best result and a lot of hard work and time is required.


4 Responses to “The art of photography and ASIC physical design”

  1. 1 Ganesh
    November 23, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Nice correlation.

  2. November 23, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Thanks Ganesh,… I hope this will encourage more engineers to pick up photography… 🙂
    Naturally, engineering is a kind of art too.

  3. 3 Venkat
    May 16, 2012 at 1:29 am

    I liked the analogy – photography with PD.. Great photos – keep going..

    • May 16, 2012 at 9:57 am


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