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34 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2019 figure out how to run it for me," while anoth- er thinks it will never do what they need it to do. A lot of it has to do with personal prefer- ence, and it also depends on the designs you have. AI is the same way; it's a tool, and it's all about leveraging previous experience to auto- mate the future. It's not saying we're going to replace the designer because you need to have the designer help teach it. Then, you don't have to do repetitive tasks over and over be- cause the system will understand the thought process the designer went through and how it would accomplish them. We're in the early days of AI or machine learning, and it's exciting. How much can you get the computer to do to analyze so that the designer can get quick and insightful feed- back? That's the trick, I think; if you can get AI to be additive and context-aware to help prob- lem-solve, you are giving the engineer a pow- erful tool to leverage. If the system could say, "I know this is a DDR channel. I have previ- ous designs I can instantaneously reference for how this was done, apply that to this board, and suggest or perform a route strategy," that provides real value, and I think that is very ad- ditive to the design process. Shaughnessy: And they say most of the AI that is in some of the tools now is more like ma- chine learning; it's not exactly what you would call AI. Banton: The definition of AI and machine learning can be a bit muddy. There is a lot of excitement around these technologies, so I be- lieve the terms tend to be used more loose- ly. What I find interesting is how the boards and hardware advances within the PCB design community are what helped to make these AI/ ML platforms possible. We are right at the fore- front of these technologies, and I'm curious to see how they take shape. Shaughnessy: Right. It is almost at a tipping point, and in a good way, with all of these different technologies coming online, like IoT and 5G. Banton: Let's take electric vehi- cles as an example. We see start- ups pop up and go from zero to EV; they design and build it in an amazing amount of time. Howev- er, the challenge we see from an engineering perspective is that de- signers don't have as much time as they used to. Therefore, they need more from their tools to help them focus on these complex engineer- ing challenges. For instance, they don't have the support of a com- ponent engineer and librarian to manage their parts for them; they often have to do this on their own. The hardware engineering commu- nity is more important than ever, yet they're asked to do more than they've ever done. Shaughnessy: And you're talking about new companies. It's interest- ing how many companies don't fit Chris Banton chats with I-Connect007's Barb Hockaday at PCB West.

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