Hammer: a modular and reusable physical design flow tool: invited
Process technology scaling and hardware architecture specialization have vastly increased the need for chip design space exploration, while optimizing for power, performance, and area. Hammer is an open-source, reusable physical design (PD) flow generator that reduces design effort and increases portability by enforcing a separation among design-, tool-, and process technology-specific concerns with a modular software architecture. In this work, we outline Hammer’s structure and highlight recent extensions that support both physical chip designers and hardware architects evaluating the merit and feasibility of their proposed designs. This is accomplished through the integration of more tools and process technologies—some open-source—and the designer-driven development of flow step generators. An evaluation of chip designs in process technologies ranging from 130nm down to 12nm across a series of RISC-V-based chips shows how Hammer-generated flows are reusable and enable efficient optimization for diverse applications.