40 Years of SPICE


SPICE at 40 Years: The Highlights


Prof. Andrei Vladimirescu

University of California, Berkeley and
Institut Superieur d’Electronique de Paris

Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 16h15 - Room MXF1

Cookies and refreshments at 16h00

The initial research goal of a graduate-student project to produce the best available program to predict the behavior of integrated circuits (ICs) in the early days of semiconductor circuits, has evolved to an industry standard used today, more than four decades and one billion more transistors per chip later, for every single transistor-level circuit design.

There are two key components of the SPICE solution: algorithms and device models. Both are equally important for the accuracy of the simulation. While in the early days of SPICE research had been devoted to algorithms, semiconductor device modeling has been in the limelight for the last two decades.

The presentation will highlight the milestones in algorithmic innovation and MOS and bipolar model development over the life of SPICE.

Accuracy and convergence were the main objectives in the first decade of SPICE. Once this was achieved the focus turned more towards being able to reproduce the behavior of semiconductor devices.

The relentless effort in device modeling was brought about by the acceleration of the pace in device scaling. Starting with very simple models such as Ebers-Moll and Shichman-Hodges requiring just 10 parameters, through breakthrough models like Gummel-Poon, to today’s BSIM, EKV, PSP and HiSIM MOS models, the key contributions, obstacles and missteps will be described.

The presentation will conclude with the current trends in SPICE simulation, the opportunities offered by multi- and many-core computers and the challenges to get to 1 million transistors simulations. Semiconductor models will continue to play an essential role in the future of SPICE simulation and their continuing development in step with process technology needs to assured; these future models need to be in the public domain as is the case today, and the universities and research laboratories developing them bear the responsibility to preserve open access to them.


About the Speaker:

Andrei Vladimirescu is a key contributor to the SPICE program development at the University of California, Berkeley. His key achievements include the SPICE 2G6 release, on which leading commercial versions like HSPICE are based, a parallel SPICE called CLASSIE for Single-Instruction Multiple-Data (SIMD) architectures and the design of a SPICE HW accelerator. Andrei is the author of the leading text on circuit simulation, The SPICE Book, published by J. Wiley and Sons. In the EDA industry he managed several teams as R&D director for analog/mixed-signal tools at Daisy, Analog Design Tools, Valid and Cadence. He is currently a professor at UC Berkeley and Institut Superieur d’Electronique de Paris.