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20 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2022 Today's PCB design engineers have more layout and analysis tools at their disposal than ever before. Over the years we've seen layout tools become more automated, rules-driven, and more integrated. Now we even have inte- gration between design tools from different vendors and ranging across domains, starting with basic circuit design, and spanning up to PLM and ERP integration. It really is a great time to be a designer. But there is one area that continues to be a bit disconnected from the rest of the design process: simulation and analysis. ose of you who know me will know that I love simulation, and I love analyzing interconnects to death. If you're like me, then you probably prefer to do all this by hand. If not, there are plenty of elec- tronics and electromagnetics simulation so- ware suites to help you along the way. e problem with today's simulation so- ware options is not their capabilities; if you shop around enough, you'll find a simulation for just about anything. e problem with the industry-standard simulation tools lies in where they fit into the standard PCB design workflow, as well as the user experience. Sim- ulation soware used in electronics and PCB design generally falls into one of the following categories. • Circuit or schematic simulation tools (e.g., SPICE) • 2D interconnect simulators implementing BEM or MoM • Electromagnetic field solvers imple- menting FDTD, FEM/FEA, or a similar numerical method The Great Divide in PCB Simulation Software Feature Article by Zach Peterson NORTHWEST ENGINEERING SERVICES

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