Allan Chin and Luciano Zoso, Stellamar
EETimes (1/18/2011 3:01 PM EST)
When we engineers look at the complexity of system design these days, we are challenged with cramming more functions into a smaller space, while consuming less power, and doing all of this in much shorter design cycles.
Efficient and effective analog design has always been a significant roadblock to hitting our deadlines; generally speaking, digital design and verification is much easier. This has certainly been true in our experience, which has involved spending the last 30 years learning the “art” of mixed-signal design.
Unfortunately, the ability to overcome the size and performance constraints of analog blocks is directly proportional to the mixed-signal engineer’s experience. Learning this art can take a lifetime. The time investment not only strains design cycles, but also hurts creativity, and it can be an impediment to cultivating a young, robust labor pool. The vast number of new graduates going into digital design as opposed to analog design is evidence of this. As a result, not much has truly been done to improve the underlying fabric of analog architecture and address inherent problems over the last 20 years.
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