Not so long ago, the world of electronics design involved as much art as science. But that has changed dramatically. Today, there can be no guesswork in the design and test of chips containing hundreds of millions of devices and operating at gigahertz speeds. This level of semiconductor complexity has forced instinct and art to take a backseat to accepted methodologies that can be automated and verified while enhancing testability.
Power tools is an apt and well-earned description for these implements of design and test that have become both essential and critical to the design process itself. Our Special Anniversary Feature takes a two-pronged look at how these tools have metamorphosed over the years to keep up with the changing nature of design. The "Desktop" report examines EDA tools, and the "Benchtop" report reviews test and measurement instruments.
To enhance this trip down memory lane, we have included the recollections of six innovators whose contributions altered the very character of design and test. These men helped build the foundation on which design and test stand today.