In the early days of the semiconductor industry, integrated circuits were designed by one or two engineers with slide-rules, hand-drawn on paper, and then given to a lithographer to print onto silicon wafers. As circuits became more complex, blueprints gave way to software. These digitally represented designs were much more than a reproduction of a pencil sketch: productivity, design quality, and communication all improved rapidly thanks to software’s ability to codify desired behaviors into actionable layouts, while also allowing for easy, iterative design improvements.
Today, large teams of engineers design circuits using high-level languages that automate the process, and chip layouts more detailed than a street map of the entire U.S. can be generated automatically. The result has been a revolution in engineering and design, manifesting itself as Moore’s Law and the Information Age itself.
Today, a similar revolution is happening in biology, most notably in the field