CMOS Characterization

What you will learn:

  • Software: relatively simple implementation, plus some visualization
  • Domain: improve your understanding of how a transistor works

CMOS Characterization – 1

A CMOS transistor operates in three different regions — cutoff, saturation, and linear. The equations for these are fairly straightforward. Implement these using hard-coded values for parameters that you may need to specify, such as doping concentrations, mobility, etc.

Given input voltages, determine the region of operation and use the appropriate equation to calculate the IDSIDS

CMOS Characterization – 2

  • Calculate $I_{DS}$ for different values of $V_{GS}$ and $V_{DS}$
  • Plot $I_{DS}$ v. $V_{DS}$ for different values of $V_{GS}$

CMOS Characterization – 3

  • Analyze the differences between N- and P-MOS transistors
  • What is the impact of transistor dimensions?
  • Read transistor parameters from a file and repeat for different technology nodes.
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Programming for the Electronics Engineering Student

Motivation

I’ve had a few odd discussions with students from the Electronics branch related to software development. Broadly,

  • sniff I’m in electronics, don’t expect me to dabble in ugh software
  • We don’t get the subjects that CS students do, so aren’t as prepared for interviews as they are
  • eh, I’m just going to do it

There’s so much to unpack here…

Firstly, software (and data structures, and algorithms, and …) is not the domain of any one branch. It is a tool to be used just like any other and a very powerful tool at that. So if you’re being snobbish about not doing any software at the altar of “electronics,” you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. Most electronics is software, and the more comfortable you are with this tool, the better of an electronics engineer you will be. Plus, software can help you understand electronics much more than you otherwise would.

Second, there are a lot of opportunities to develop software skills. The courses that you don’t get to do aren’t all that important, you can learn the core concepts by yourself. There are a few (Databases!) that you won’t get exposure to, but you haven’t really missed much. Read on!

Finally, self-study is the best way to develop these skills. Here’s the big secret:

the only way to learn how to program …. is to program

The obvious question is: “what do I program?”

This is a series of posts that presents program suggestions, what to look for and what to focus on. If you go through these, you will be a better electronics engineer and a better software developer than 99% of your peers, irrespective of their major. I’ve gone through the typical subjects from the second year onwards, and defined assignments that (i) build on the theory that you learn (ii) expose you to different implementation concepts (iii) improve your understanding of data structures and algorithms

One last thing: the discipline of programming

  • All your implementation should have a reasonable testing strategy in place
  • All your code should be instrumented to measure the performance of key parts of the code
  • All C and C++ code should be compiled with -Wall
  • All code should be valgrind-certified error-free
  • All code should be in a version control system

I’ll talk about each of these points in a later post.

now let’s

Shut Up and Code!

 

Coming soon, program ideas on:

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Cibola Burn, James S. A. Corey

Basic problem solving. If you don’t have the data you need, play with the data you have, see if something comes out of it. She’d made it through three semesters of combinatorics that way. All right.

Forwarded to all my combinatorics students 🙂

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How Not to Write, William Safire

A wonderful book that delights in demonstrating, well, how not to write. And it’s full of lines like:

Unlike the period, which decisively separates complete thoughts, or the comma, which gently separates phrases, the semicolon is the Cleopatra of punctuation marks; she separates and connects at the same time, making hungry where most she satisfies.

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Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph, Jan Swafford

I enjoy the few pieces that I’m familiar with (Symphonies 5 –9, the Egmont overture, Fur Elise (duh!) and the Moonlight Sonata) simply because they ‘sound nice’. I need to relisten to them with this book in hand to understand why they do so! I’m sure the intricacies will be lost on me, but that’s fine!

I just knew the bare facts about Beethoven — mainly his deafness and eccentricities that followed. However, this genius came at a high cost. Too high? 

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Permutation City, Greg Egan

What if you slept…

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

What if you slept

And what if

In your sleep

You dreamed

And what if

In your dream

You went to heaven

And there plucked a strange and beautiful flower

And what if

When you awoke

You had that flower in your hand

Ah, what then?

 

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e: The Story of a Number, Eli Maor

I probably read this book for the first time around ’97-’98, and it was an eye-opener. It should be required reading for all engineering students. This time around, I read it in a fraction of the time that it took me then, and I’m happy with how comfortable I am with the contents. It also tied in nicely with Euler’s biography from last year.

In terms of mathematics, I still have to understand $e^z$ and taking the logarithms of complex numbers. Soon…

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Angry White Pyjamas: A Scrawny Oxford Poet Takes Lessons from the Tokyo Riot Police, Robert Twigger

Slice of life and society, and what a contrast to Musashi and Shogun. Well, not surprising, considering that this one is set in the 20th century! And then there’s this:

The Seven Ways to Attain Victory

  1. Suppressing the opponent’s ki
  2. Anticipating the attack
  3. Responding to the attack
  4. Holding down
  5. Driving back
  6. Overwhelming
  7. Proper adjustment

The author uses these to control a classroom of teenage girls. One could think of using these principles in business as well. Maybe that’s why Sun-Tzu is so popular?

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Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures, Merlin Sheldrake

How little we know about the world around us! And how interconnected everything is — I hadn’t realized that a Star Trek Discovery character was named after a ‘shroom expert! Plenty of recalls to ‘How to Change Your Mind.’ And, we understand so little about the world around us..

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Reading in 2020

This was not intentional, but I ended up reading a book a week this year — probably more than I ever have! I went back and looked at what I’d read, and here’s a bit of a summary.

This year was dominated by sci-fi, but these were mainly entire series (total 24 books!):

    • 3-body (3), Broken Earth (3), Witcher (7), and Earthsea (7)
    • 4 others

What was the goal here? Basically entertainment, but quite a few amazing ideas (Ted Chiang, N. K. Jemisen) and beautiful writing (Le Guin).

The next big bucket consists of books that I read in the hope of improving my thinking, understanding new frameworks, and making sense of the world around me (total 14). Highlights are:

    • Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
    • Alain De Botton – two books
    • Two re-reads – The Road Less Travelled and The Three Marriages

I bailed on quite a few books without completing them — life is too short!

The next categories that I can think of are economics (total 6), technical (total 3), and other miscellaneous (total 5)

My reading has been pretty haphazard thus far. I pick up whatever looks interesting from my pile o’ books at different points in time. I usually read 4-5 books concurrently, and when I’m very busy, I’m more likely to go for fiction. 

This is the first time I’ve tried classifying what I read, and I think I may use this to guide what I focus on. 

Finally, the book that had the largest impact on me was a book recommended by Varad:  Ted Chiang’s “Stories of Your Life, and Others”, for the beautiful, first-rate writing, mind-blowing ideas, and emotional wistfulness.

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Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, Edward Craig

What a wonderful way to end out an absolutely fantastic reading year! My notes:

Three basic questions:

  • What should we do?
  • What is there?
  • How do we know?

And different -ism’s:

  • Metaphysics or what sorts of things are there?
    • Dualism (mind & matter), v.
    • Materialism and Idealism
  • Epistemology, or how do we know?
    • Empiricism (perceiving over thinking) v.
    • Rationalism (thinking over perceiving)
  • Scepticism
  • Relativism

I’ll be using this framework to explore further, and to structure my own thinking in the coming year.

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After Life, Simon Funk

Wow! This is one way that we evolve into post-human constructs. And people currently worried about the ethics of AI should add a whole new dimension about what could happen!

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Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective, Kenneth O. Stanley and Joel Lehman

This has been a pretty poor year for books recommended by friends — such as this one! There are some cases where you know what you’re looking for, and you search for it. And that is all that you’ll find. If you wander around aimlessly, you’ll find other interesting stuff that you otherwise wouldn’t have found. I’m not sure what the big deal is!

Okay, I’m being facetious, but honestly, they could have done with much, much, better examples than what they used. Coming up with a figure that looks like a car (to us!!)? Give me a break. And I’ve worked with genetic programming twenty years back, so I’m not a sceptic.

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Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch Albom

Recommended by a friend. My gut reaction was that I wouldn’t get much from this book, and I’m sorry to say that I didn’t. I guess I’m just too jaded! I don’t disagree with anything that Morrie says, but the book had more of the surrounding drama and the actual message tends to get lost…

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