Madhavan Swaminathan won a Best Paper Award at DesignCon 2012, held January 30-February 2 in Santa Clara, Calif. A professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, Dr. Swaminathan shares this award with his recently graduated Ph.D. student Suzanne Huh, who now works at Intel.
Their paper, "Are Power Planes Necessary for High Speed Signaling?," took top honors in the Power and RF Design category. Most electronic packages and printed circuit boards today contain power planes which cause resonances and excessive jitter in a high speed signaling environment. The bad effects of power planes are often mitigated using decoupling capacitors. For the first time, this paper shows the use of transmission lines to supply power with minimum power supply noise and jitter. The findings of this paper, which resulted from Dr. Huh's Ph.D. thesis, could have far reaching consequences in real world applications. These results provide a path towards using fewer layers for signaling, less capacitors, and a possibility for simplifying the design process, leading to low cost solutions.