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First-Hand:Solid State Circuits Society First Hand Histories

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Dale L. Critchlow
Winter 2007, pp. 19-22
[Recollections on MOSFET Scaling*%26searchField%3DSearch+All] In mid-1970, Bob Dennard , Fritz Gaensslen and Larry Kuhn formalized the constant-field scaling theory and its limitations. Bob Dennard went on to contribute profoundly to the demonstration of the feasibility of MOSFET scaling and led the way into implementation in real products. Scaled CMOS has become the dominant technology for digital and many analog applications and will continue to be a fundamental driving force of the industry for years to come.

Gene M. Amdahl Summer 2007, pp. 4-9 Computer Architecture and Amdahl's Law In this thumbnail autobiography, Dr. Amdahl describes his early career, beginning with a serendipitous programming assignment as a graduate student in physics at the University of Wisconsin in 1950 and culminating in the formulation of "Amdahl's Law" in 1967.

Barrie Gilbert Fall 2007, pp.10-28 The Gears of Genius A self-described "lone wolf-cub, befriended only by a hyperactive urge to experiment with everything," Barrie Gilbert recalls his coming of age in the nascent world of analog circuit design and his emergence as an inventor and author of papers that have become classics in the field.

Robert H. Dennard Winter 2008, pp. 10-16 Revisiting Evolution of the MOSFET Dynamic RAM - A Personal View This first-person account of the early days of semiconductor memory development explains how Dr. Robert Dennard's invention of DRAM came about and chronicles the evolution of DRAM technology from 1967 through 1984. In that period, he reports, there was a lot of circuit and architectural innovation in a very competitive environment, with little documentation in the public literature.

Mitsumasa Koyanagi Winter 2008, pp. 37-41 The Stacked Capacitor DRAM Cell and Three-Dimensional Memory The key component in a stored-program-type computer is memory, the repository for data and instructions. In this article Dr. Mitsumasa Koyanagi chronicles the development of the stacked three-dimensional (3D) DRAM cell, highlighting his role in solving the problems of memory data-bandwidth and forecasting a dramatic increase in memory capacity based on his current work using "super-chip" integration technology.

Eric A. Vittoz Summer 2008, pp. 7-23 The Electronic Watch and Low-Power Circuits Renowned as an expert in low-power CMOS circuit design and for groundbreaking work with miniature electronic devices, Dr. Eric A. Vittoz relates his life, work and times in this original retrospective for the SSCS News. According to Yannis Tsividis, also in this issue, Dr. Vittoz's influence continues to grow, as low voltage and low power become increasingly important in the engineering of mobile devices. Dr. Vittoz is a Research Fellow at the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology in Neuchatel, Switzerland, an IEEE Fellow, and a professor at EPFL, the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. He has published more than 130 papers and holds 26 patents

Christian Enz Summer 2008, pp.24-30 A Short Story of the EKV MOS Transistor Model The EKV MOS transistor model and design methodology evolved from the first weak inversion transistor models of the 1970's. In this first-hand account, Christian Enz chronicles the evolution of the hierarchical structure, limited parameters and flexibility of the EKV model that he developed with colleagues such as Francois Krummenacher and Eric Vittoz (the "E" "K" and "V" of EKV) at the Centre Electronique Horloger (CEH) in Neuchatel. With the aggressive downscaling of CMOS technologies today, the EKV compact model is shifting increasingly from the traditional strong inversion region toward moderate and weak inversion regions.

Gordon Bell Fall 2008, pp.8-19 Bell's Law for the Birth and Death of Computer Classes: A theory of the Computer's Evolution In 1951 a man could walk inside a computer. By 2010, a computer cluster with millions of processors will have expanded to building size. In this new paper Gordon Bell explains the history of the computing industry, positing a general theory ("Bell's Law) for the creation, evolution, and death of computer classes since 1951. Using the exponential transistor density increases forecast by Moore's Law in 1965 and 1975 as the principal basis for the life cycle of computer classes after the microprocessor was introduced in 1971, he predicts that the powerful microprocessor will be the basis for nearly all computer classes in 2010, from personal computers and servers costing a few thousand dollars to scalable servers costing a few hundred million dollars. Soon afterward, billions of cell phones for personal computing, and tens of billions of wireless sensor nets will unwire and interconnect everything.

Erik H. M. Heijne
Fall 2008, pp. 28-34
Gigasensors for an Attoscope: Catching Quanta in CMOS Around 1987, Eric Vittoz studied the basic parameters for the development of 'pixel' particle tracking detectors in collaboration with a team in Geneva at CERN. CERN scientist Erik Heijne traces the evolution of these particle imagers, which has resulted in matrices of 256x256 pixels with > 1000 transistors per pixel that can process single quanta and have connections with neighboring cells allowing analog and logic operations at ns time-scale for distrbiuted events.