The Gradient: Automating Circuit Board Design

Sergiy joins Daniel Bashir on the Gradient, a podcast about AI and technology, to discuss automating PCB design with reinforcement learning, difficulties in PCB design automation, and dealing with skepticism.

Check it out below:

The Gradient
Articles, interviews, and news coverage about AI brought to you by a team of AI researchers and builders. Click to read The Gradient, a Substack publication with tens of thousands of subscribers.


  • (00:00) Intro
  • (00:45) Quilter origins and difficulties in designing PCBs
  • (04:12) PCBs and schematic implementations
  • (06:40) Iteration cycles and simulations
  • (08:35) Octilinear traces and first-principles design for PCBs
  • (12:38) The design space of PCBs
  • (15:27) Benchmarks for PCB design
  • (20:05) RL and PCB design
  • (22:48) PCB details, track widths
  • (25:09) Board functionality and aesthetics
  • (27:53) PCB designers and automation
  • (30:24) Quilter as a compiler
  • (33:56) Gluing social worlds and bringing together expertise
  • (36:00) Process knowledge vs. first-principles thinking
  • (42:05) Example boards
  • (44:45) Auto-routers for PCBs
  • (48:43) Difficulties for scaling to larger boards
  • (50:42) Customers and skepticism
  • (53:42) On experiencing negative feedback
  • (56:42) Maintaining stamina while building Quilter
  • (1:00:00) Endgame for Quilter and future directions
  • (1:03:24) Outro
What should we build next?
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