Vol. EE Reference
Chapter 7 Using the Spice Circuit Simulation Program

History of SPICE

SPICE is a computer program designed to simulate analog electronic circuits. Its original intent was for the development of integrated circuits, from which it derived its name: Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis.

The origin of SPICE traces back to another circuit simulation program called CANCER. Developed by professor Ronald Rohrer of U.C. Berkeley along with some of his students in the late 1960’s, CANCER continued to be improved through the early 1970’s. When Rohrer left Berkeley, CANCER was re-written and re-named to SPICE, released as version 1 to the public domain in May of 1972. Version 2 of SPICE was released in 1975 (version 2g6—the version used in this book—is a minor revision of this 1975 release). Instrumental in the decision to release SPICE as a public-domain computer program was professor Donald Pederson of Berkeley, who believed that all significant technical progress happens when information is freely shared. I for one thank him for his vision.

A major improvement came about in March of 1985 with version 3 of SPICE (also released under public domain). Written in the C language rather than FORTRAN, version 3 incorporated additional transistor types (the MESFET, for example), and switch elements. Version 3 also allowed the use of alphabetical node labels rather than only numbers. Instructions written for version 2 of SPICE should still run in version 3, though.

Despite the additional power of version 3, I have chosen to use version 2g6 throughout this book because it seems to be the easiest version to acquire and run on different computer systems.