Design of custom integrated circuits has
become prohibitively expensive for many application
domains. As a result, these domains often choose to
implement the desired functionality on programmable
platforms, but those solutions are less energy efficient.
This paper proposes several approaches for making the
design process more efficient and enabling custom energy-
efficient integrated circuits. Function generators, as
opposed to function instances, should be designed, which
combined with higher-level design abstraction improve
design efficiency and foster reuse. The use of generators
also enables modular designs, aiding design verification.
Rapid design flow maps generated modules into silicon
and enables design-space exploration for optimal
efficiency. Open-source repository of function generators
and their mappings into systems allow designers to
selectively add value to the design. These principles are
demonstrated on a design of a processor, based on an
open-source instruction set architecture, with integrated
switched-capacitor DC-DC converters implemented in
28nm FDSOI. The chip is designed with a relatively small
team and features high conversion efficiency (80-86%)
high energy efficiency (26.2 DP GFLOPS/W).