Simulating a circuit with SPICE is the industry-wide standard way to verify operation at the transistor level before manufacturing an IC. The program has become so ubiquitous that engineers often say they are going to “SPICE a circuit” when they are about to test one. To mark the 40th anniversary of SPICE—the Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis—IEEE has designated its creation an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing.
SPICE was made publicly available in 1971 so that chip designers could modify it—an early example of open-source software. Two years later, SPICE became well known after it was described in a paper by Pederson at the 16th Midwest Symposium on Circuit Theory, in Waterloo, Ont., Canada. During the next few years, developers around the world began using and modifying SPICE, leading it to become the industry standard it is today. “What happened was truly phenomenal,” Nagel wrote in “The Origins of SPICE.” “Within a few years, SPICE had achieved acceptance at almost all electrical engineering schools [for use in teaching] and had [spawned] a cottage industry to supply SPICE derivatives to the rapidly expanding integrated circuit industry.”
[Read more by Anna Bogdanowicz @ IEEE]