VLSI stands for "Very Large Scale Integration". This is the field which involves packing more and more logic devices into smaller and smaller areas.Thanks to VLSI, circuits that would have taken boardfuls of space can now be put into a small space few millimeters across! This has opened up a big opportunity to do things that were not possible before. VLSI circuits are everywhere ... your computer, your car, your brand new state-of-the-art digital camera, the cell-phones, etc.
VLSI has been around for a long time...but as a side effect of advances in the world of computers, there has been a dramatic proliferation of tools that can be used to design VLSI circuits. Alongside, obeying Moore's law, the capability of an IC has increased exponentially over the years, in terms of computation power, utilisation of available area and yield. The combined effect of these two advances is that people can now put diverse functionality into the IC's, opening up new frontiers. Examples are embedded systems, where intelligent devices are put inside everyday objects, and ubiquitous computing where small computing devices proliferate to such an extent that even the shoes you wear may actually do something useful like monitoring your heartbeats!