do have to.”
The breakthrough in solving the signal problem came from the computation power of computers that can take on the equations. “Before we didn’t have computers to do it. But now we do have that capability. That was the foundation. We knew there was greater and greater need to solve Maxwell’s equations explicitly,” said Williams.
Simulation Tools Change the Paradigm
Simulation was the key to managing the signal integrity challenge. “Turning it inside out is changing a paradigm. It’s the simulation and the design tools that ate being turned inside out. In the 70s and 80s, we were successful by using circuit theory and microwave tools. Those tools are based on the circuit equations and they work well as long as you have good models. You understand where the current goes and flows,” said Williams. “What happens when you come through something more distributed? It takes time for the signal to go from one place to another. We have to build specialized models for that.”
Going forward, Williams sees thermal simulation as a next step. “Every engineered product has a tendency to get hot. Signal integrity is important, but what about thermal? What if you could simulate the thermal in the same way, not just electrical or electromagnetic?” said Williams. “That’s an exciting long term future possibility. I see more and more of that going forward in the multi physics of electronics.’
Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 17 years, 15 of them for Design News . Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.