Milestone-Nomination:Birthplace of the SPICE Circuit Simulation Program, 1971
Docket Number: 2010-01 Proposal Link: https://ethw.org/Milestone-Proposal:Birthplace_of_the_SPICE_Circuit_Simulation_Program,_1971
In the space below the line, please enter your proposed citation in English, with title and text. Text absolutely limited to 70 words; 60 is preferable for aesthetic reasons. NOTE: The IEEE History Committee shall have final determination on the wording of the citation
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 descendants have become essential tools employed by virtually all integrated circuit designers.
The plaque may be viewed at: A permanent wall just inside the main entrance to Cory Hall at the University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA. Cory Hall is the Electrical Engineering building at UC Berkeley and is the building where all three versions of SPICE were developed. The site is protected by University of California staff and security. This is a public area, well lit, accessible to the public without restriction Monday to Friday from 7AM to 6:30 PM local time. No appointment requirements nor security barriers limit access at those times. There are often events, open houses, and parties organized nearby, and there is a lot of visitor and student traffic there.
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In the space below the line, please describe the historic significance of this work: its importance to the evolution of electrical and computer engineering and science and its importance to regional/national/international development.
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. ♦
What features or characteristics set this work apart from similar achievements?
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.
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