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old account Frank Eory
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re: Did you say 'programmable analog'?
old account Frank Eory   5/30/2013 6:39:51 PM
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I don't think many engineers today would consider "programmable" to mean setting gain or frequency response via external passive components or jumpers. Programmable in today's world should exclusively mean "configurable via software." Indeed, a great many analog-mixed signal ICs that have any level of complexity beyond a couple op-amps in a package also have an I2C and internal configuration registers for adjusting functional & parametric characteristics.

EREBUS0
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re: Did you say 'programmable analog'?
EREBUS0   5/29/2013 7:56:34 PM
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As you say, there are Pro's and Con's to building an Analog chip with programmable functions. I could easily see a simple RF/Audio chip where the user could set up a number of OpAmp stages with filters, edge detectors, peak detectors and a number of other functions. Such a chip would let the "Analog Challenged" engineers with a way to quickly set up a signal conditioning chain for their sensors before turning everything over to the digital world. Same for audio or RF outputs. Sometimes you just need to tweek the final stage, but you do not need an exotic solution, just a serious of filters and buffers to improve the S/N before you blast the information into the ether. Plus such a chip would generate interest in more people learning some of the basic Analog circuits.



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As data rates begin to move beyond 25 Gbps channels, new problems arise. Getting to 50 Gbps channels might not be possible with the traditional NRZ (2-level) signaling. PAM4 lets data rates double with only a small increase in channel bandwidth by sending two bits per symbol. But, it brings new measurement and analysis problems. Signal integrity sage Ransom Stephens will explain how PAM4 differs from NRZ and what to expect in design, measurement, and signal analysis.

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