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28 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2021 Feature Article by Stephen V. Chavez PCEA With this issue of Design007 Magazine focus- ing on the art and science of PCB design, let's pause for a moment and think about how PCB design has advanced over the past few decades. As I step back and think about this in the grand scheme of things, I am amazed at how this seg- ment has evolved. In today's world, PCB design has become much more complex in nature, with so many details to account for. At the same time, many of today's PCB designers have evolved into much more than the "ECAD drasmen" of the not-so-distant past. We don't just simply "con- nect the dots" or "push the magic button" as some may imagine. e profession of designing PCBs, once known as electrical draing, is more accurately known as printed circuit engineering. Today, not only are we designing complex PCBs that contain physical packages smaller than ever before, but we are addressing electrical, mechanical, and thermal variables with a much higher level of complexity. And don't forget— we need to design each board faster than the last, all while cutting cost and resources. at is an art in itself. Today's PCB designer must be part tech- nologist and part artist. ink about it—it takes a lot more than technical knowledge and ability to design PCBs now, many with blaz- ing fast signal speeds and edge rates. As if the electrical and mechanical design complexity of a PCB weren't enough of a challenge, let's add in the manufacturing complexities. All this makes designing entire complex systems a true challenge indeed. Simply put, to be successful in PCB design, you really need to know and understand what you are doing and how the decisions you make and implement upstream impact your stakeholders downstream. Everything a designer does, right or wrong, has ramifications downstream. We are witness- ing a trend in this industry: Many new PCB designers are recently degreed electrical engi- neers. As the industry continues to change, so do our EDA tools, which have more horse- power and capabilities than ever before. We are doing things better and faster than ever, but is there still opportunity to be even better and faster? I believe so, but we must be willing to trust our respective EDA tools. Will AI Replace the Art of PCB Design?

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