In electronic design automation, a floorplan of an integrated circuit is a schematic representation of tentative placement of its major functional blocks.
In modern electronic design process floorplans are created during the floorplanning design stage, an early stage in the hierarchical approach to chip design.
Depending on the design methodology, the actual notions of floorplan may differ.
Mathematical models and optimization problems
In some approaches the floorplan may be a partition of the whole chip area into axis aligned rectangles to be occupied by IC blocks. This partition is subject to various constraints and requirements of optimization: block area, aspect ratios, estimated total measure of interconnects, etc.
Finding good floorplans has been a research area in combinatorial optimization. Most of problems related to finding optimal floorplans are NP-hard, i.e., require vast computational resources. Therefore the most common approach is to use various optimization heuristics for finding good solutions.
Another approach is to restrict design methodology to certain classes of floorplans, such as sliceable floorplans, discussed below.
A floorplan that consists of a single rectangular block is sliceable.
Sliceable floorplans have been used in a number of early Electronic Design Automation tools for a number of reasons. Sliceable floorplans may be conveniently represented by binary trees which correspond to the order of slicing. More importantly, a number of NP-hard problems with floorplans have polynomial time algorithms when restricted to sliceable floorplans.
^ a b "he Electrical Engineering Handbook", Richard C. Dorf (1997) ISBN 0849385741