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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Innovating PCB Design: An Interview with Duncan Haldane, CEO of JITX

June 25th, 2024 by Sanjay Gangal

In the ever-evolving world of electronic design automation (EDA), JITX is making waves by revolutionizing how printed circuit boards (PCBs) are designed. I had the opportunity to sit down with Duncan Haldane, CEO and co-founder of JITX, at the 61st Design Automation Conference in San Francisco to discuss the innovative approach his company takes to transform traditional PCB design methodologies into a more streamlined and efficient process.

JITX: Bridging the Gap Between Chips and Boards

JITX aims to bring the same level of automation and efficiency to PCB and system design that has long been available for chip design. While chip design moved to code-based methodologies back in the 1980s, boards and packages lagged behind, remaining rooted in graphical approaches. JITX updates this by enabling electronic system design using a programming language, effectively bridging the gap between chips and boards.

“We designed JITX to use code instead of the traditional graphical approach. This allows us to design electronic systems, including boards and packages, using a programming language called Stanza, which looks a lot like Python but offers more powerful semantics,” Haldane explains.

A Unified Language for System Design

JITX’s approach involves using a general-purpose programming language to design not just individual boards but entire systems of boards and packages. This unified language allows designers to treat the system as a single integrated entity, optimizing across traditional boundaries like signal integrity, power integrity, and package design.

“The traditional approach involves using different tools and teams for various aspects of design, leading to numerous meetings and PowerPoint presentations. With JITX, all these elements are brought together into one place, allowing for a more holistic optimization process,” Haldane adds.

Automated Schematic Generation and Autorouting

One of the standout features of JITX is its ability to generate schematics and layouts from high-level design requirements. Designers specify the system’s requirements, such as the processor, memory interface, and power specifications, and JITX generates the corresponding schematic and layout.

“We have a new kind of autorouter that actually works, unlike most traditional autorouters which often fail to meet designers’ expectations. Our autorouter uses AI to generate high-performance shapes and routes, particularly for high-frequency designs like differential pairs for 30 GHz, with zero setup and cleanup time,” Haldane highlights.

Integration with Industry Tools and Libraries

JITX doesn’t work in isolation; it integrates seamlessly with existing industry tools and libraries. For example, it interfaces with electromagnetic (EM) solvers like HFSS, allowing designers to leverage powerful simulation capabilities while optimizing their designs at the architectural level.

“We have a library of materials, laminates, vias, and other components, all represented in code. Additionally, we use AI to extract information from data sheets, making it easy to generate and update design data within our framework,” says Haldane.

Interactive and Incremental Design Process

Unlike traditional autorouters that require extensive setup and often fail to deliver satisfactory results, JITX emphasizes an interactive and incremental design process. Designers can move components, update routing, and make adjustments in real-time, all within the same integrated environment.

“Our system supports manual tweaking, allowing designers to incrementally optimize their layouts. This hands-on approach, combined with the power of automation, ensures that designs meet the highest performance standards,” Haldane notes.

Real-World Applications and Customer Success

JITX’s innovative approach has attracted significant interest from major players in the industry. Lockheed Martin is one of their notable customers, and JITX is also collaborating with semiconductor companies to optimize the entire design process, from package to board.

“Semiconductor companies are particularly interested in our ability to optimize channel performance across die, package, and board. Our tool allows them to choose ball-outs and optimize their overall system performance seamlessly,” Haldane shares.

Fully Operational and Accessible

JITX is not just a concept; it is a fully operational tool available to designers today. The company offers a free tier on their website, allowing users to explore and get accustomed to code-based electronic design.

“Our product is available for Mac, Linux, and Windows, with all design data staying local. We also offer cloud services for supply chain optimization, ensuring that designers can choose the right parts based on real-time data,” Haldane explains.

Automating Supply Chain and Design Verification

Supply chain optimization is a critical aspect of JITX’s offering. By expressing design constraints in code, JITX automates the process of selecting parts that meet specific requirements, such as temperature variations and material properties.

“We automate the entire stack, from choosing components to verifying that they meet design specifications. This reduces the negotiation between electrical engineering and supply chain teams, streamlining the overall design process,” Haldane emphasizes.

Empowering Engineers with Systematic Reuse

Systematic reuse is another key advantage of JITX’s approach. Designers can leverage libraries of circuits and components, facilitating incremental changes and reducing the cost and time associated with prototyping and design iterations.

“Today, making a change often means resetting everything and starting over. With JITX, changes are incremental, allowing for rapid prototyping and multiple iterations without significant overhead,” Haldane explains.

Looking Ahead

As JITX continues to innovate and expand its capabilities, the company remains focused on optimizing the design process and empowering engineers to create better designs. With its unique combination of code-based design, automation, and integration with existing tools, JITX is poised to transform the landscape of electronic system design.

For more information about JITX and to explore their innovative solutions, visit their website at or follow them on LinkedIn.

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Category: PCB

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