Milestone: SPICE Circuit Simulation Program, 1970
Dedication Date: February 20, 2011
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.
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.
For more information on this Milestone, see the IEEE Milestone webpage.
“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.”
University of California
Note: The plaque may be viewed just inside the main entrance
to Cory Hall. Cory Hall is the Electrical Engineering
building at UC Berkeley and is the building where all
three versions of SPICE were developed.