Synopsys, Inc. (NASDAQ: SNPS) recently announced the capability to pipeline key manufacturing applications. The new Proteus Pipeline Technology provides a fully pipelined tapeout flow for maximum CPU utilization and is a major departure from serial manufacturing flows, in which a complete post-optical proximity correction (OPC) database must be available before the latter applications can be initiated. By deploying this capability across its portfolio of proven manufacturing tools, Synopsys provides customers with increased hardware efficiency, enabling significant reductions in both CPU memory consumption and manufacturing turnaround time. Proteus Pipeline Technology has been in limited release to select customers. The general production release, Proteus 2007.12 SP1, will be available this month.
Initially targeting the manufacturing mask tapeout flow, where terabyte databases will soon appear, the new Pipeline Technology utilizes a novel parallel data-processing mode by which computational resources are uniformly engaged and the effects of I/O latencies are masked by synchronal processing. Data and computational tasks are distributed over cluster resources so that applications such as reticle enhancement techniques (RET), optical proximity correction (OPC), mask rule checking (MRC), lithography rule checking (LRC), mask data preparation (MDP), and user-customized geometry operations are executed concurrently. The main benefits are reduced total mask tape-out turnaround time and improved hardware utilization compared to conventional flows, in which each sequential stage in the mask tapeout flow generates a complete database before handing it off to the next stage. Without the need to hold complete databases at any point, cluster memory footprint is drastically reduced. Proteus’ new Pipeline Technology was deployed within an effortless job-flow environment, offering both ease-of-use and programmability.
The next phase of Proteus Pipeline Technology deployment will include incremental handoffs to the mask-write hardware. This will enable mask writing to be executed concurrently with all of the applications in the mask tape-out flow, further reducing the net time to mask where appropriate. For customers without mask-write hardware, incremental data can be propagated concurrently to merchant mask shops via file transfer protocol (FTP), thus eliminating latency associated with whole-mask data file FTP. Dynamic MRC and LRC error review and repair are also provided in this phase to maintain the optimal design-to-mask cycle time.
More info: Synopsys