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10 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2023 Today's PCB design tools are a far cry from the rudimentary tools we used 30 years ago, but even though the algorithms are now quite clever, they are still fairly basic as far as intel- ligence goes. Comprehensive design rules can be established to accommodate myriad con- straints to limit placement and routing which advise us when we have overstepped the boundaries. But what if artificial intelligence (AI) was introduced into the mix? How could it enhance the PCB design environment? What would happen if we applied AI/machine learn- ing techniques as part of the design flow? PCB designers are used to complex designs and much of the design process is a fairly straightforward engineering challenge. How- ever, the number of options and potential interactions has soared. ere are many ways to achieve the same goal, but some ways are better than others in the context of system integrity or a specific application. Still, keeping track of all the possible tradeoffs and options in a complex design is approaching technologi- cal singularity—the hypothetical point when computer capacity rivals that of a human brain. Google, Xilinx, Synopsys, Intel, Cadence, and Siemens are all working on AI applica- tions for silicon design. Recently, machine learning (ML)-based techniques have been efficiently utilized in several applications, Integrating AI Into PCB Design Flow Beyond Design Feature Column by Barry Olney, IN-CIRCUIT DESIGN PTY LTD / AUSTRALIA with Special Advisor Charles Pfeil

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