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We want to continue highlighting the amazing AWR academic connections! We’ll be covering the relationship with the University of Bristol and their many professor contacts, but specifically Professor Francesco Fornetti. We are also excited to announce that he is joining Cadence Academic Network’s Lead Institution program, supporting the RF/Microwave Design technical topic. I sat down to talk with him to learn more about his AWR journey and to highlight his amazing work.
In 2008, Professor Fornetti was using AWR for his PhD research. As a part of working towards his PhD, Prof. Fornetti was overseeing a simulation laboratory designed to familiarize students with matching networks and RF amplifiers – examining biasing, matching, and stabilization, as well as optimization and layout. These labs are intended to be completed in two 3-hour sessions, but with the software the lab was initially using, it would sometimes take longer than the allotted six hours. The software also stunted the students' ability to learn because they were weary of experimenting with their simulated circuits for fear of destroying the work that had taken so much time to create.
Dr. Fornetti took it upon himself to find a solution for this lab by rewriting the material for the lab exercise using AWR Microwave Office. This change for the next semester made a significant difference for the lab and the learnings for the students. The majority were able to complete the same exercise as the previous lab, but in 3 hours instead of the previous 6+ hours! This meant that students were able to use the second 3-hour session to tweak their circuits leading to even more learning and deeper understanding of not only their circuits but also the functionalities of the tool.
This experience was just the kick starter to the many amazing things that Prof. Fornetti implemented at the University of Bristol. Learn more about how the University of Bristol is using AWR Microwave Office tools in classroom teaching.
University of Bristol Professor Builds Electronic Design Teaching Method and Videos
In 2010, as a part of the Worldwide University Network (WUN), Prof. Fornetti went to the University of Sydney to continue his research and teach some courses. Students and professors there were very enthusiastic about his AWR lectures, but he left before the end of the semester, so he made video tutorials for them to use. These videos were designed to go back to the basics.
He wanted to create resources that would give students and professors a starting point to deeply understand the basics, leading to deeper understanding of the more complex ideas and methodologies. The videos he created for the University of Sydney are still some of the most popular videos on his YouTube channel.
Francesco felt very passionate about creating resources to teach the basics, so he reached out to AWR to see if they would be interested in funding the creation of new learning materials. They saw the value as well and brought him on-board. Francesco started working to create all the basic materials on teaching active and passive circuits using AWR. This work helped AWR customers start with structured materials that anybody new with the simulator or new to the field could use to get up to speed. These resources are now popular with universities in the UK and worldwide.
AWR TV – Francesco Fornetti
After all this, Prof. Fornetti went back to the University of Bristol because his heart was in academia. What he hadn’t done yet was use AWR to validate basic theory of electric circuits, but of course, this motivated and enthusiastic professor did just that! Now students, starting their first year in undergrad, are introduced to AWR in their Linear Circuits course and continue to use AWR throughout their academic career – Electronics 1, Electronics 2, Electronics 3, and in their fourth year Radio Frequency Engineering course.
This sentiment is carried beyond their undergraduate work, with students coming to Prof. Fornetti and asking to use AWR for their research projects because they are familiar and comfortable with using the software. Another reason Prof. Fornetti has been able to get student and professor buy-in to deploy AWR use across the undergrad curriculum is because students can access it on their own laptops. Even students using MACs can use a virtual Windows desktop to log into a virtual machine to access AWR from a web interface. Learn more about how the University of Bristol is able to use AWR in a virtual setting: AWR Simulation Tools Greatly Help University of Bristol with the Delivery of their Courses
Because of all the amazing work that Prof. Fornetti has done to proliferate the use of AWR software across the undergrad curriculum at the University of Bristol, we have invited him to join Cadence Academic Network’s Lead Institution program supporting the RF/Microwave technical topic. Lead Institutions are universities where the academic staff have proven expertise in certain technology for education and research. They are key influencers in the Academic Network, and each maintains a Cadence Academic Network LinkedIn group focused on their technical area of expertise. We also value our lead institution professors for the inspirational talks that they deliver at various Cadence events. It is customary for new Lead Institution professors to present in the dedicated Academic Track at CadenceLIVE Europe, hopefully we’ll get to hear from Professor Fornetti in 2021!
In our conversation, I asked what he wants to do as our newest Lead Institution and he shared that he would love to create a resource hub of materials for universities, not only will it make the lives of the professors easier because they don’t have to create materials from scratch, but it will also benefit the students to have a more universal way of learning and adopting the tools.
Professor Fornetti understands that universities will still have proprietary information and research that is unique to their university but thinks that sharing the basics of teaching and learning techniques will greatly benefit everyone involved.
We are looking forward to partnering with him to reach out to current AWR users to see what resources they have already created and if they would be interested in sharing their work with other universities in the Academic Network. Then we can see how we can organize these resources into a functional hub to make it even easier for universities to deploy AWR as a part of their curriculum and throughout the entire degree program.
We can’t wait to see how Professor Francesco Fornetti will shape the next generation of engineers and we’ll be happy to support him any way we can!
Excited to start incorporating AWR software into your curriculum? Check out Prof. Fornetti’s e-book, Conquer Radio Frequency, for download from the Cadence webpage. You can also explore the other AWR e-books, available through the Professors in Partnership program: AWR eBooks.
For more stories about AWR’s many collaborations, explore the Team RF blog channel. You can also get regular updates about Online Training courses, open opportunities and more by joining the RF/Microwave Design – Cadence AWR Academic Network LinkedIn group. For more technical groups, explore all the LinkedIn groups curated specifically for academia.