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52 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2020 Feature by Michael Nopp CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS PCB design has always been where the rub- ber meets the road in terms of applied engi- neering to make a physical product. Driven by all the disciplines required to build a modern PCB, design teams need better tools to stream- line ever-shortening design cycles. Time is of the essence, and more data is needed to improve design tradeoffs. Current PCB design job postings explicitly request a generalist to tackle all facets of PCB design. The amalgamation of traditional dis- ciplines and use models is giving rise to the engineer who works on the entire flow in a smaller team. As the traditional, dedicated lay- out designer is now becoming a generalist, the push to integrate and understand so many con- cepts such as high-speed design and the com- plexities of modern-day interfaces is pushing PCB design tool requirements. Younger EEs are driving tool requirements as well by breaking down the traditional dedicated groups of layout: SI and PI experts. Faster data rates and the smaller interconnect densities required to meet current and future specifica- tions are driving designers to extract and simu- late interconnects to verify noise margins on more and more nets. In the future, PCB teams will also need to be electrically aware to meet interconnect density requirements and faster data rates. When more requirements and non- experts converge, the tools need to change. Point tools of the traditional PCB designer organizations are difficult to pick up, and more analysis at the early stages of the design is needed to catch the low-hanging fruit of design problems. Potential failure cases must be screened out before signoff; otherwise, changes and reiterations of the design eat into the product cycle. At most hardware sites, schedules are compressed, and time to mar- ket is essential. Reducing design cycle time is key to market success. This can be achieved by enabling the engineer to quickly access analy- sis to shorten the designers' observe, orient, decide, and act (OODA) loop. Empowering Electrically-Aware PCB Designers of the Future

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