MSI or Medium-Scale Integration, introduced in the early 1960s, contained hundreds of transistors per chip.
LSI or Large Scale Integration introduced in the early 1970s contained tens of thousands of transistors per chip. These were mainly used for computer main memories and second generation processors.
Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) started in 1980s and continues up to the present with several hundred million transistors per chip. Computer aid circuit analysis programs like SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated-Circuit Emphasis) are used to design microelectronic circuits.
ULSI (ultra large-scale integration): More than 1 million electronic components per chip. However, the term ULSI is rarely used now, microchips are referred to as VLSI or above.
A chipset is a number of Integrated circuits designed to perform one or more related functions. (What is a Chipset?). The chipsets are controllers closely connected to the CPU, meaning that they control the buses around the CPU, without them neither the RAM nor the buses would work together with the CPU.
“A VLSI circuit can be viewed physically as a collection of polygons on different layers of a chip, structurally as a collection of logic gates, or behaviorally as a set of operational restrictions in a hardware-description language.” (Computer Aids for VLSI design) The aspects of Physics and Mathematics which are specific for designing electronic items especially VLSI circuits are connectivity and the use of flat geometry in circuit layout. Connectivity is very important to ensure flow between components. The physical design of a VLSI consists of two dimensional layers which are placed on top of each other.
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