Analog Simulation Insights


More “black magic” mumbo jumbo… will it ever end?


Hi All,
I’ve written about this several times already (… Because digital design is so easy! and More on analog synthesis and the non-cognescenti), but it must make for some provocative headlines to perpetuate these “black magic” myths about analog design. With the ongoing demise of the print media, I suppose that I can’t blame them for stirring up some controversy. If you don’t get readers you don’t get advertisers. If you don’t get advertisers you are out of a job!

I was recently interviewed for another article on DACezine titled Automating Analog Design, Is it really a black art or just a red herring? – by Geoffrey James. It’s not a bad article, and Geoffrey even “borrowed” the title of one of my blog articles here: Red Herrings: separating the truth from the hype in SPICE verification tools. Imitation is a sincere form of flattery… right? And my “Red Herring” article has proven to be the most popular of all my posts here. As of the date of this post, it’s actually tied with the “non-cognoscenti” article for most viewed. I take that as a good indication of the type of articles you all are interested in reading. Thanks for checking them out.

But back to this “black magic” nonsense. As I have said before, I wish the editors and writers would get out a dictionary to see for themselves what a derogatory description of analog design that is. Black magic? Evil spirits? Demon worship? Voodoo?? I like to think that I have a pretty good sense of humor, but to all of us who struggled through multiple semesters of physics, circuit analysis and design, analog and digital signal processing theory, control systems, e-mag, etc… etc… that could be taken as an insult! Does anybody know where the Hogwarts Academy for Analog Design is?

Analog designers have to survive some of the most difficult course and lab work in all of electrical engineering, and then – once we graduate – we have to regularly endure often brutal design reviews by our peers. I’d love to participate in an editorial review that would mirror some of the reviews I had to deal with back in my design days. Now that would be fun! Why,  it was enough to drive me into marketing! 🙂

So (in the DACezine article) Gary Smith says, in regards to the so-called “problem” in automating analog design – that “the good news is the old farts are retiring and the new analog guys are willing to use tools.” Now, I’m not sure if I qualify as an old fart yet… but I am not planning on retiring any time soon, and you can be sure that I will continue to address the real issues in analog design and verification, and to speak up for all the hard work and talent that goes into making one an analog designer.

Now where the heck did I put my wizard’s cap?

– Mike

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