"Divide and conquer" has been the underlying principle used to solve many engineering and social problems. Over many years engineers have devised systematic ways to divide a design objective into a collection of smaller projects and tasks defined at multiple levels of abstraction.

Description of Distributed Integrated Circuits

This approach has been quite successful in an environment where a large number of people with different types and levels of expertise work together to realize a given objective in a limited time. Communication system design is a perfect example of this process, where the communication system is initially defined atthe application level, then descried using system level terms, leading to an architecture using a number of cascaded sub blocks that can be implemented as integrated circuits.

The integrated circuit design process is then divided further by defining the specifications for circuit building blocks and their interfaces that together form the system. The circuit designer works with the specifications at a lower level of abstraction dealing with transistors and passive components whose models have been extracted from the measurements, device simulations, or analytical calculations based on the underlying physical principles of semiconductor physics and electrodynamics.

This process of breaking down the ultimate objective into smaller, more manageable projects and tasks has resulted in an increased in the number of experts with more depth yet in more limited sublevels of abstraction. While this divide-and-conquer process has been quite successful in streamlining innovation, the overspecialization and short time specifications associated with today's design cycles sometimes result in suboptimal designs in the grand scheme of things.