Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione     
David J., Makedon F., Codenotti B., Leoncini M. An experimental learning environment for vlsi design. In: PEG 91 - Knowledge Based Environments for Teaching and Learning. 6th International PEG Conference (Rapallo, Genova, Italy, 31 may 2 June 1991). Proceedings, pp. 110 - 119. R.M. Bottino, P. Forcheri, M.T. Molfino (eds.). PEG - Exeter, 1991.
We discuss the development and implementation of an object-oriented experimental environment for designing heuristics in VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) layout. This is an experimental learning environment which consists of (a) an analysis tool for optimization of key parameters in VLSI layout design problems, (b) a testing lool for generating and verifying various heuristics on botb large and small instances of the a problem, and (c) a learning tool for small problem instances which uses visualization and provides insight. Behind this environment there is a knowledge-based system for providing feedback and explanation of results. The major thrust of this paper is a discussion of the third component, i.e., the learning too1. Our experimental environment has been partially implemented in Smalltalk, which provides a userfriendly graphical interface for problem input, output, interaction, and modification of the heuristics.

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