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38 The PCB Design Magazine • January 2015 In the fall of 1998, I authored a white pa- per about an entire design project that would be controlled by a single database, and all hard- ware and software design tools would "check in and check out," only the design data that each engineering discipline needed. Within this uni- versal database, all of this data fell into two categories: a) common data, and b) proprietary data (trade secrets and patents). I actually approached the CEO of the com- pany I was working for several years ago (not my current employer) with this idea. Although he understood its merits, he did not attempt to fund this next-generation design environment or request that I submit a patent to protect it. Instead, he allowed me to introduce this con- cept to the body of the "corporate think tank" over several months. Some feedback from for- ward-thinking people like me was very positive, but for the most part, I was greeted by skeptics who preferred to be naysayers. You know: "Too expensive, too this, and too that." At DAC 2000 in New Orleans, I came upon a spritely elderly lady named Hilary Kahn, who introduced me to what she and her stu- dents had done at the University of Manchester with the EDIF 4.0 standard. Perhaps there was a pre-Harry Potter spell that she cast onto my inquisitive mind, but I actually saw mechani- cal and electrical tools (although they were the lesser EDA tools of the day) interact with the same design data for their specific engineering needs. This integration was not at the scale of my white paper, but I believed in the goodness THE TOWN CRIER column by Daniel J. Smith rAyTheon True MCAD-ECAD Architecture: A Common-Sense Approach

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