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Birthplace of the SPICE Circuit Simulation Program

Location: Berkeley, CA, USA
Date: 1969-1971
Category:
"SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) was created at UC Berkeley as a class project in 1969-1970. It evolved to become the worldwide standard integrated circuit simulator. SPICE has been used to train many students in the intricacies of circuit simulation. SPICE and its descendents have become essential tools employed by virtually all integrated circuit designers." (The plaque may be viewed just inside the main entrance to Cory Hall at the University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA.) SPICE was the first computer program for simulating the performance of integrated circuits that was readily available to undergraduate students for study of integrated circuit design. Hundreds of graduates from UC Berkeley and other universities became the backbone of the engineering workforce that moved the US to microelectronics to industry leadership in the 1970s. Graduates of Berkeley became leaders of today's largest firms delivering design automation capabilities for advanced microelectronics. SPICE was much more than a simple program for instructional use. It was the first to incorporate sparse matrix analysis to permit economic simulation of large circuits, adjoint analysis for sensitivity to component variations and noise, built-in device models for "first-cut" design, and a simple user interface that evolved through the transitions from punched cards to dumb terminals to sophisticated workstations. For the first time, the developers of SPICE made source code widely available, enabling others to contribute more sophisticated device models and additional analysis capabilities. These factors contributed to its dominant status in the subsequent development of both open-source and proprietary circuit simulation software.
Tags: Era: 1960-1969
Innovation designated by:
Courtesy UCLA
Birthplace of the SPICE Circuit Simulation Program
Address:
University of California
Berkeley, CA, USA

University of California

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