Porosity aware buffered steiner tree construction
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In order to achieve timing closure on increasingly complex IC designs, buffer insertion needs to be performed on thousands of nets within an integrated physical synthesis system. Modern designs may contain large blocks which severely constrain the buffer locations. Even when there may appear to be space for buffers in the alleys between large blocks, these regions are often densely packed or may needed later to fix critical paths. Therefore, within physical synthesis, a buffer insertion scheme needs to be aware of the porosity of the existing layout to be able to decide when to insert buffers in dense regions to achieve critical performance improvement and when to utilize the sparser regions of the chip. This work addresses the problem of finding porosity-aware buffering solutions by constructing a "smart Steiner tree" to pass to van Ginneken's topology based algorithm. This flow allows one to fully integrate the algorithm into a physical synthesis system without paying an exorbitant runtime penalty. We show that significant improvements on timing closure are obtained when this approach is integrated into a physical synthesis system.