Inducted May 2013
Alan C. Finch (d. 2012) is known as the father of the shape-based autorouter. In 1985, Finch, with coauthors K.J. Mackenzie, G.J. Balsdon, and G. Symonds of Racal-Redac, proposed a gridless method for designing fine-line printed circuit boards. The inventors said in their groundbreaking paper, which was presented at the 22nd IEEE Design Automation Conference, that then-current designs had "stretched most previous automatic routing algorithms to the limit." Building on a concept from 1980 by Ulrich Lauther, the former Racal-Redac developer conceived a router with no defined cell size. The resulting tools forever changed the way printed circuit design is performed.