This week’s top ten list presents a number of useful sites for information on analog design and I suppose mixed-signal-design-related questions in general. This list will not add that much text and instead give the links to the sources. The list is numbered, but not strictly (just slightly …) ordered.
And the standard caveat: these bullets are ten out of many, of course. Please add your own links – I would be quite glad to get your opinion on this.
- #10: The ATIK download pages
Sorry, but I need to start somewhere… my first site is therefore the download pages for the ATIK courses at Linköping University.
Probably one of the most unorganized web pages out there…
- #9: The EDA Board
The EDA board as such is quite comprehensive in the sense that they have covered also fuzzy design areas like: “Linux”, etc. You also find digital, analog, and mixed-signal discussions.
The problem with EDA board is that the SNR is quite low and you get a lot of strange posts with strange suggestions. However, now and then you find a gem there too. It is also quite satisfactory to be helping out by posting some ideas on the board.
I guess related to #10, but I have found it quite useful to add the term “lecture” to the end of your google search. Then, quite often, you end up with a reference to some of the Berkeley courses or similar Californian places:
There are of course plenty, plenty of more. But, as stated, don’t be afraid to add something “scholar-ish” to the search line:
"lecture" "lab" "exam" "tutorial"and/or things like that. Quite often you get to a page with much more useful information than a silly patent application or so… And no, I do not like to look at youtube videos from analog integrated circuit design lectures, I’m sorry.
Google has also made sure that quite a lot of books are available electronically. That is actually quite great. The text books are (well, most of them) written with an aim to be clear and able to present the material well:
Even my own book is available there (search for Jacob Wikner …)
- #6: Blogs
This blog 😉 … well, I guess I am kidding in some sense — but hey, why not look into the blogs instead? This gives some more insight and knowledge from other cultures, backgrounds, etc.
If you’re lucky 😉 there is some more freshness to it, some interaction and more personal. You can sign up for the RSS feed and/or post news. If you are less lucky the posts are not too frequent and you loose the interest and momentum… I guess you can do the rest of the googling.
Cadence’ forum is of course very biased and most questions are related to their toolset. However, this is quite likely your world if your company/institute have chosen Cadence as a software provider:
But actually, when you think about it: you would normally have a vague boundary between “designing the circuit” and “handling the tool to design the circuit”. Where is your efficiency improved most? Getting more in-depth knowledge of circuit design or handling the tools… Hmmm. Both, probably.
As you see I am a bit biased, of course there are Mentor Graphics and Synopsys forums too, etc.
- #4: IEEExplore
Well, the superacademic resource is the IEEEexplore. The massive database of papers published with IEEE copyright obviously contains massive amount of information. Sadly, it can sometimes be quite difficult to extract all the necessary information from the relatively short papers.
I am not putting this resource on the top because of the complexity of the contents. Of course it is somewhat of the backbone of finding current research status, what-has-already-been-done, etc., etc. However, if you are looking for the answer to the following question: “How should I design this and that to obtain this and that?” then the IEEExplore is probably not your first choice.
- #3: Application notes
I guess I will be bundling all the commercial company app notes into one bullet here, potentially a bit unfair for some, but yet… (otherwise, one could do a list of all the commercial app note providers …
and many more. Sometimes, valuable tips/information are a bit obscured in the app notes, but the format is very good: a few pages explaining for the “dummies”. It is a good way to look into the app notes and sanity check your own results 😉 A good tip is also to avoid the application notes where the products are too much of a focus. Look for the more generic ones instead.
You could of course also extend your site search to “white papers” as well.
- #2: CMOS edu
Jake Baker is maintaining the CMOS Edu pages. A quite fine set of pages with tutorials — see for example the pages on bad design as an eye opener for analog design, but of course also including the discussion group
Please also follow the links to Baker’s two books and all the examples and material related to them. I am currently also thinking of one of the books for the course we give here: “analog and discrete-time integrated circuits”. If anyone has some comment on them, please let me know.
- #1: The designer’s guide
The designer’s guide forum was (I think at least) created by Ken Kundert and Henry Chang. They have a commercial, contracting business, but the forum is for anyone to read and post to.
http://www.designers-guide.org/ (org not com ...)
The Designer’s guide to Spice and Spectre was one of the first books/courses I took as a Ph.D. students back in the 90’s and I have kept an eye on Kundert’s work ever since. Another nice property with the Designer’s guide forum is that an academic feeling is maintained in a “commercial” environment.
So, any comments? Please post your idea of what would be the “correct” list. Where do you find your most valuable on-line information?