From ASIC to ASIP: The next design discontinuity

Kurt Keutzer, Sharad Malik, A. Richard Newton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

115 Scopus citations


A variety of factors is making it increasingly difficult and expensive to design and manufacture traditional Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs). This has started a significant move towards the use of programmable solutions of various forms - increasingly referred to as programmable platforms. For the platform manufacturer, programmability provides higher volume to amortize design and manufacturing costs, as the same platform can be used over multiple related applications, as well as over generations of an application. For the application implementer, programmability provides a lower risk and shorter time-to-market implementation path. The flexibility provided by programmability comes with a performance and power overhead. This can be significantly mitigated by using application specific platforms, also referred to as Application Specific Instruction Set Processors (ASIPs). This paper details the reasons for this significant change in application implementation philosophy, provides illustrative contemporary evidence of this change, examines the space of application specific platforms, outlines fundamental problems in their development, and finally presents a methodology to deal with this changing design style.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2002
EventInternational Conference on Computer Design (ICCD'02) VLSI in Copmuters and Processors - Freiburg, Germany
Duration: Sep 16 2002Sep 18 2002


OtherInternational Conference on Computer Design (ICCD'02) VLSI in Copmuters and Processors

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Hardware and Architecture


  • ASIC
  • ASIP
  • Application specific instruction set processors
  • Application specific integrated circuits
  • Design methodology
  • Programmable platforms


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