June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Electrical and Computer
23.1019.1 - 23.1019.10
Rationales on a Required Class on Signal and Power Integrity in a Computer Engineering Curriculum Signal integrity (SI) and power integrity (SI) is about transmitting reliably signal andpower in electronic systems such as those built with multiple packages involving printed circuitboards (PCBs) and silicon wafers, multichip carriers, connectors, cables and enclosures. Aswireless communications, high speed digital circuits, mixed signal PCBs, hand-held or portabledevices and battery power become ubiquitous in more and more electronic devices,understanding SI and PI has become critical for computer engineers to design reliable and cost-effective electronic products. Topics in SI and PI often involve interaction betweenelectromagnetic fields, wave and electronic circuit. Therefore, knowledge of certain areas ofelectromagnetic fields and wave is required to know SI and PI. Most computer engineering curricula in the USA do not have required classes onelectromagnetic fields and wave beyond freshman physics. Computer engineering curricula areoften too crowded to add a required electromagnetic class for one semester or two quarters.Students often feel electromagnetic classes are irrelevant to their career as they don’t see how theclasses relate to their future career in computer engineering. Would it be possible to introduce SIand PI without requiring a comprehensive class on electromagnetic fields and waves? Would itbe beneficial to computer engineering major to take a SI and PI class without a comprehensiveclass on electromagnetic fields and waves? We feel it is possible to teach SI and PI to computer engineering students without aprerequisite class on electromagnetic fields and wave. The compromise is to add a SI and PIclass that covers electromagnetic fields and wave related to SI and PI. The class can focus onpresenting relationship between fields, wave and circuits and on how to extract circuitparameters under different working conditions from field or wave models given geometries andmaterial properties of an electronic system. This class will then apply correct circuit models andtools to solve SI or PI problems. The following are the main topics this class may cover: Electric and magnetic fieldmodels of lumped-element capacitor and inductor; Transverse electromagnetic wave model of alossless or lossy transmission line; Extractions of circuit parameters from geometries ofcapacitor, inductor and transmission line. High speed behaviors of passive components;Frequency spectrum of digital signals; Models of drivers and receivers of digital devices.Transmission line impedance discontinuity and termination techniques; Coupling mechanisms ofelectrical and magnetic fields and capacitive and inductive crosstalk; Ground noise. Power planenoise and resonance; Signal and power integrity issues in high-speed digital systems at printed-circuit board and chip levels. We feel computer engineering students will benefit from a class proposed above. Thebenefits of this class are multifold. The class will serve as a link between real world physicalimplementation and ideal functional design of an electronic circuit. It will be a podium, probablythe only one in a computer engineering curriculum, to combine digital, analog and RF circuitsand to traverse between electromagnetic fields and electronic circuits and to relate geometriesand material properties to circuit parameters. It will help students to understand differencesbetween high speed and low speed properties of electrical signal transmissions and electronicdevices. We have proposed for this class to be added to the computer engineering curriculum atour school and we will report our experience of this new class after this class has been taught fora couple of years.
Song, J., & Walter, D., & Wheeler, E. (2013, June), Rationales on a Required Class on Signal and Power Integrity in a Computer Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22404
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