What is Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI)?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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Very large scale integration, or VLSI, involves the technology that allows a large number of circuits to be included on single silicon chip. Developed during the 1980’s, VLSI helped to usher in an age where many of the technical innovations we enjoy today were made possible.

VLSI is a process that can be employed in several different ways. When it comes to the production of semiconductor chips, the process provides the ideal means of including huge numbers of logic elements and memory capacity on one single chip. This one simple application helped to make desktop computers more powerful than ever, as well as setting the stage for the utilization of resources that make online video and other high resource applications possible.

When it comes to the amount of components that can be placed on a single chip, the original design made the placement of several thousand elements on one unit possible. Continued enhancements in the process of VLSI have made it possible for that number to exceed even the wildest expectations of those early attempts. Today, VLSI can be employed to place more than one million components on a single chip.


The implementation of VLSI has aided in research and development that has helped to make possible a number of improvements to older forms of technology. Manufacturing equipment that was produced during the last decade of the 20th century was able to perform tasks more efficiently and using fewer external resources, owing to the computer driven chips that helped to streamline the production process. Such innovations as audio and video streaming over the Internet would not be possible without the development that went into expanding the number of components that can be housed on a single chip. The marriage of cell phone technology with Internet access and remote office connectivity are all realities because of the type of research that VLSI represents.


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