Facilitating analog circuit design and debugging with instrumented, programmable hardware

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The increasing ubiquity of electronic devices in our world demands effective tools for designing and debugging circuits. Analog circuits in particular interface systems with our physical world, and therefore play a key role in sensing, communication, actuation, and display. As an iterative process, circuit design requires efficiency both in the inspection of circuit behaviors and in the modification of circuit parameters — both of which can be slow, manual, and error-prone when working with analog hardware. This thesis demonstrates how design tools built on instrumented, programmable hardware can address these challenges and accelerate debugging by facilitating inspection and modification of analog circuits. Specifically, instrumentation reveals circuit behaviors passively and in real time, while programmability allows the designer to perform modifications or explore alternatives without reworking the physical circuit. Jointly, these capabilities further afford opportunities for automation to support test-oriented debugging. In this thesis, we describe three novel design tools illustrating the benefits of this approach: The first, Pinpoint, automatically instruments circuit designs and produces customized hardware-software interfaces to programmatically inspect and test PCBs. The second tool, Simpoint, helps designers compare measured and expected behaviors across circuit alternatives by coupling the physical PCB with a simulation. Finally, the third tool, Scanalog, demonstrates how designing circuits on fully programmable analog hardware can further accelerate design by enabling real-time, interactive manipulation of circuit parameters and topology while observing live responses throughout the circuit. Together, these systems and the techniques they enable demonstrate how tools built on instrumented, programmable hardware facilitate fast iteration to support analog design and debugging.


Type of resource text
Form electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
Extent 1 online resource.
Place California
Place [Stanford, California]
Publisher [Stanford University]
Copyright date 2020; ©2020
Publication date 2020; 2020
Issuance monographic
Language English


Author Strasnick, Evan Nicholas
Degree supervisor Agrawala, Maneesh
Degree supervisor Follmer, Sean
Thesis advisor Agrawala, Maneesh
Thesis advisor Follmer, Sean
Thesis advisor Horowitz, Mark (Mark Alan)
Degree committee member Horowitz, Mark (Mark Alan)
Associated with Stanford University, Computer Science Department


Genre Theses
Genre Text

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Evan Nicholas Strasnick.
Note Submitted to the Computer Science Department.
Thesis Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2020.
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2020 by Evan Nicholas Strasnick
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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