DATE notebook: Collaboration key to advanced process nodes

By Luke Collins |  No Comments  |  Posted: March 13, 2012
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The future of the foundry business will rely on collaboration, according to Mojy Chian, senior vice president of design enablement at GlobalFoundries.

Speaking at the Design Automation and Test in Europe (DATE) conference in Dresden, Chian said that the foundry business to date has been seen as a contract manufacturing operation but that “the model for the future is collaboration throughout the entire value chain of the foundry business.

“We have to combat increasing design costs by providing solutions through partnerships between the wafer manufacturers and the EDA and IP companies.”

Chian argued that this will be particularly true at advanced process nodes such as 28nm and 20nm, where design challenges such as parametric yield issues, complex design rule sets, lithography hotspots and other design-for-manufacturing problems will have to be attacked on a broad front.

“Our strategy is to resolve these issues through collaboration,” he said.

GlobalFoundries has already embedded itself in a rich R&D ecosystem in New York State for future process development, and has made deals with IP and EDA tools vendors to address other issues.

For example, it has worked with ARM to develop a dual-core system-on-chip, based on the A9 Cortex core design, which it offers as a hard macro for customers and uses as a process qualification vehicle.

The design has been ported to all three variants of GlobalFoundries’s 28nm process and is being ported to its 20nm process, ahead of customer designs and IP test chips.

GlobalFoundries has also recently announced work with the consulting arm of Mentor Graphics to add pattern recognition to its DRC flow, and with Synopsys to overcome the scaling challenges involved in moving to the 20nm process node.

“The key is early engagement with partners and EDA and IP vendors,” said Chian. “If this is in place it enables us to optimize the economic value of new technologies. Our early engagement with partners is helping us develop new process nodes.”

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