Heuristic Search for New Microcircuit Structures: An Application of Artificial Intelligence

  • Douglas B. Lenat
  • William R. Sutherland
  • James Gibbons


Eurisko is an AI program that learns by discovery. We are applying Eurisko to the task of inventing new kinds of three- dimensional microelectronic devices that can then be fabricated using recently developed laser recrystallization techniques. Three experiments have been conducted, and some novel designs and design rules have emerged. The paradigm for Eurisko's exploration is a loop in which it generates a new device configuration, computes its I/O behavior, tries to "parse" this into a functionally it already knows about and can use, and then evaluates the results. In the first experiment, this loop took place at the level of charged carriers moving under the effects of electric fields through abutted regions of doped and undoped semiconductors. Many of the well-known primitive devices were synthesized quickly, such as the MOSFET, Junction Diode, and Bipolar Transistor. This was unsurprising, as they were short sentences in the descriptive language we had defined (a language with verbs like Abut and ApplyEField, and with nouns like nDoped Region and IntrinsicChannellRegion).