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A BRIEF HISTORY OF SPICE

A need for a circuit simulation program, some clever folks with a vision and teams of hard working students and professionals all contributed to the realization and evolution of SPICE. Below is a brief, bullet-list history of this powerful simulator organized mainly according to the different SPICE versions.


CANCER

  • Early 1970s, Ron Rohrer hopes to develop a simulation program for his work on optimization at the University of California Berkley.

  • Rohrer's students, including Larry Nagel, create CANCER (Computer Analysis of Non-Linear Circuits Excluding Radiation).

  • Performs DC, AC and Transient Analysis.

  • Components include diodes (Shockley equations) and bipolar transistors (Ebers-Moll equations.)

  • Other simulation programs of the day include IBM's ECAP and Autonetics TRAC.

 

SPICE1

  • In 1972, Nagel and Pederson release SPICE1 (Simulation Program with IC Emphasis) into the public domain.

  • SPICE becomes industry standard simulation tool.

  • Models for bipolar transistors changed to Gummel-Poon equations.

  • JFET and MOSFET devices added.

  • Based on Nodal Analysis.

  • Written in FORTRAN code running on large main frame computers.

 

SPICE2

  • Nagel's 1975 release offers significant improvements.

  • Modified Nodal Analysis (MNA), replacing the old analysis, now supports voltage sources and inductors.

  • Memory is dynamically allocated to accommodate growing circuit size and complexity.

  • Adjustable time-step control speeds simulation.

  • MOSFET and bipolar models overhauled and extended.

  • Version SPICE2G.6 (1983) is the last FORTRAN version (still available today from Berkeley.)

  • Many commercial simulators today are based on SPICE2G.6.

 

SPICE3

  • SPICE code rewritten in the C programming language (1985).

  • Features a graphical interface for viewing results.

  • Includes polynomial capacitors, inductors and voltage controlled sources.

  • New version eliminates many convergence problems.

  • Added models: MESFET, lossy transmission line and non-ideal switch.

  • Improved semiconductor models accommodate smaller transistor geometries.

  • Not backward compatible with SPICE2.

 

1980's AND BEYOND

  • Commercial versions released include: HSPICE, IS_SPICE and MICROCAP.

  • MicroSim releases PSPICE, the first PC version of SPICE.

  • SPICE attracts many more users in industry and academia.

  • Companies integrate SPICE versions to their schematic entry and layout packages.

 

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