UltraCAD Design, Inc



Smart Electrons


Joe Morrison and I spent one Wednesday evening listing to the "Porch Dawgs" in Santa Clara. This is what that did to us!

Dear Pete,

Current circuit designs are wasteful. Consider how circuits are designed today. To send a signal down a trace, we switch a gate on or off and send a bunch of electrons down the trace (or back again). They are received by some sort of receiver that counts the electrons. A lot of electrons may equate to a “one” and a few electrons may equate to a “zero”. If there are just “some” electrons, the receiver doesn’t know if there is a “one” or a “zero” on the trace and errors occur.

The number of electrons we send down the trace is very large. The technical term for this number is “kazillion.” Now electrons are unruly and hard to keep corralled. The force required to herd them is achieved with volts. And the number of volts required to keep control of a kazillion electrons generates heat. This in turn impacts the size of the trace we must use. It is all very wasteful.

The root problem with all this is that electrons are really dumb. They were created (you got it) a kazillion years ago and have not evolved a single bit since then. They are unruly, even repel each other, and seem attracted to protons --- who we all know don’t contribute enough to carry their own weight.

Imagine how this would change if electrons were smarter. Why do we send a kazillion electrons for one bit of information when just one electron, if smart enough, could carry one bit of information? After all, one bit of information isn’t really very much! (The definition of “one bit of information” is the amount of information conveyed by a “yes” or “no” answer.)

If each electron could carry just one bit of information, then a single electron would require almost no voltage to send it along. So traces could be VERY small, and heat problems would be a thing of the past.  Power supplies would be extremely simple. In fact one firm we know of has patented the idea that the static electricity the electrons would generate as they moved along a trace would be enough to power the entire system!

Now to accomplish all this, we need to increase the intelligence level of electrons. So we wanted to tell you that we have formed the American Electron College (AEC) to educate them. Recognizing that electrons are, today, really stupid, the program has to start at the very beginning.

Fortunately, electrons don’t have to be very smart to be able to carry one bit of information. So we think that it would only take 4 years for an electron, in the first phase, to achieve a Basic Science degree in Electron Education (BS/EE). We are currently looking for qualified Electron Education (EE) professors to staff the college and for (BS) course proposals.

Advanced Degree work is required for the next leap in electron technology. To arrive at this second phase, electrons will need to be trained to the level of  “Mucho Superior Educated Electrons ” (MS/EE). Each electron would not only know its yes/no value, but it would also know the address where it needed to end up.

Advanced Electrons currently under training or doing internships will be required to have a redundant addressing scheme in place to ensure that they can find the right address. They will either be accompanied by a student driver or have a note pinned to their shirt.

This breakthrough in technology will ultimately render the concepts of traces and routing obsolete. PCB fabrication as we know it will be a thing of the past. Components will now be directly mounted to a solid sheet of copper. Instead of today’s multitude of circuit types, we would simply need an input device, an output device, and a conference room where several electrons would meet and compare their information, reaching a collective decision based on the information they were all carrying.

Test strategies will also change. The traditional bed of nails will be replaced by a single probe. Software driving this test will simply need to query passing electrons to determine the yes/no value, as well as the address of where it started from and where it needs to end up

It might be possible to ‘certify’ a “smart electron” without the requirement of taking a formal course of study. So IPC (Interstitial Proton Consortium) is currently working on an Elementary Electron Certification Process (EECP). The defense department is considering ways to grant security clearances to especially qualified electrons, since some of them may be given secret bits of information.

As with any elite corps, a few members will standout and become the leaders and trainers of the next generation of trained electrons. These standouts will earn the title of Professional Electron (PE), and as their numbers grow, they will be required to certify any critical project that could affect the safety and well being of other citizen electrons.

All this is very exciting work, but is just the beginning of what we believe will be a major revolution. We’ll keep you posted as we progress.


Joe Morrison, Design Solutions
Doug Brooks, UltraCAD Design, Inc.


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