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Designing electronic engines with electronic engines: 40 years of bootstrapping of a technology upon itself

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1 Author(s)
Jess, J.A.G. ; Eindhoven Univ. of Technol., Netherlands

This paper reviews aspects of the field of design technology (also addressed as “computer aided design” or as “design automation”) for electronic systems as it developed over the last 40 years. The point of observation is based in Europe. Yet it is the intention of the author to maintain a worldwide scope-for as much as he is able to do. We will look at the early computers and how they triggered the first experiments in solving electronic design problems. Then we will review the first attempts of circuit simulation and layout synthesis. This is followed by a description of design technology progress in the 1970s and the early 1980s. We continue with an interlude giving some historical background of the European social and industrial arena and its influence on the industrial impact of the design technology field. Then the story turns back to the field itself and looks at the issue of design and description languages and the underlying semantic models. This is in fact the opening to a chapter on high-level synthesis, architectures and the co-design of hardware and software, scratching the surface of the very important issue of embedded systems. Eventually, a view is opened on the spectrum of products to come, which will reduce the computer to a commodity. Rather, this spectrum will encompass the entire field of communication in any phase of life. Finally, the story closes with the most prominent demands faced by the design technology field as the electronics industry sets out to fulfill all the promises that silicon manufacturing suggests

Published in:

Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 12 )