Principles of Power Integrity–Simplified, Released!

The latest textbook I wrote with colleague Larry Smith, Principles of Power Integrity- Simplified, has just hit the streets. You can pick it up directly from Prentice Hall at their InformIT web site. While the hard cover version is in black and white, the pdf version is in color.

If you care about PDN design, this is the book for you.

I’ve known Larry Smith for many years. He was always one of my goto experts when it came to power integrity topics. I followed his work at IBM, then had a chance to work with him when we were both at Sun Microsystems, and then would correspond with him after he moved to Altera.

We met up at DesignCon 2009 after attending a panel discussion on power integrity. We walked out of the room shaking our heads after listening to the very naïve and confused questions from the audience.

Larry and I happened to walk out of the room and into the hallway together and remarked on how much confusion there was in the industry about power integrity.  This is not to say there aren’t plenty of experts already in the field, writing excellent papers and giving incredibly valuable talks, such as Istvan Novak, Scott Mc Morrow, Steve Sandler and the late, great Steve Weir, to name just a few.

It’s just that there were a lot of engineers who didn’t know about their work, or didn’t pay attention, or didn’t understand what they were saying.

Larry blurted out, “We should write a book together about PDN design.”  I think he meant it as a comment about the industry, and not a serious proposal.

But, as soon as he said it out loud, we looked at each other in astonishment and both said at the same time, “What a great idea!”

My latest textbook, the second edition of Signal and Power Integrity- Simplified had just come out and was becoming very popular. Some of the early reviews were pretty good. I was looking for my next textbook topic.

We ran off to a corner and spent an hour brainstorming ideas, missing our next talks. Between the two of us, we had different perspectives on the topic, different skill sets that complemented each other but the same drive to get it done, and get it done in a way we thought would be right.

With our enthusiasm still peaked, I dragged Larry over to the Prentice Hall Booth on the DesignCon show floor and we pitched the idea to my publisher, Bernard Goodwin. He was as excited as we were and signed us up with a book contract on the spot.

When he asked us how long it would take, I was about to say, “Oh we can do it in a year.” But I caught  myself and applied by standard factor of 2 increase to the estimate from what I realistically thought I could do. “Two years from now,” I said.  Both Larry and I thought this was very realistic. Boy, were we way off!

Over the next seven years, Larry and I meet by goto meeting every Thursday morning for up to 2 hours going over outlines, drafts and simulations. Some weeks, we would spend the whole two hours on the phone arguing over one little detail that we each had different, equally strong opinions about and could not reconcile.

What a pleasure it is working with a professional who puts science and engineering first and ego way in the back. Every debate ended in a resolution based on the evidence and good solid engineering or physics. One of us always ended up convincing the other he was right. Larry usually won the debates, but we both saw how much we learned from the process.

Each chapter went through multiple re-writes, sometimes whole sections thrown out or changed based on our new perspectives. We sent out the first five chapters to industry experts for review and bit our finger nails for their input to come back. Some of the very insightful comments were rather devastating, while others gave us relief that maybe we did understand at least some of these important design principles.

After 500 hours of conference calls, 5,00o hours of writing and editing and simulating, for each of us, three house and two job moves between us, a dozen in person day-long review and debate sessions, and three editors at Pearson Publishing House, the mother company of Prentice Hall, we had the first copies of the hardback book in our hands. And now you can to.

ps: Check out the dedication. When you get a chance, ask Susan or Marty about it. But be warned, you will get an earful.

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