Just Ask Heidi: Is Power Integrity the Hot Discipline of the Future?


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First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, Eric Camden, John Mitchell, and Tara Dunn in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s Heidi Barnes’s turn! Heidi is a senior signal and power integrity engineer at Keysight Technologies. She has written over 20 papers on SI and PI, and she is an active member in developing the new IEEE P370 standard involving interconnect S-parameter quality after fixture removal. Heidi has been awarded five patents and a NASA Silver Snoopy award (each Silver Snoopy pin flies on a space mission first), and she was named DesignCon's 2017 Engineer of the Year. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Heidi.”

Q: In the future, what EE disciplines (SI, PI, EMC, etc.) are going to be the most in demand?

A: I am partial to power integrity (PI) because I am now 100% invested as the power integrity product owner for Keysight’s PathWave PI solutions. Signal integrity (SI) is challenging, but even SI needs PI to work. PI is the foundation, and to still find so many conflicting design rules and industry arguments on best practices makes it likely that we will see a growing demand for PI engineers to define best practices and better standardize the industry.

I also like to have an ideal approach to EMC that says if one does the SI correctly so that all Tx power goes to the Rx, and if one does PI correctly and the power delivery is matched to the load, then there should not be any energy going into EMI/EMC. This is rather simplistic, but it does highlight the benefit of good PI and SI designs to reduce the need for additional hardware to mitigate EMC problems.

To submit your questions for Heidi, click here.

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