The last six years have seen the increasing advance of computational and algorithmic complexity to compute mask patterns that retain sufficient lithographic fidelity to maintain the advances in circuit density that are the engine of the semiconductor economy. New Computational Lithography techniques constitute a significant transformation of the design. Initially applied only to the most critical portions of the most critical layers, they are now considered de-rigueur for almost every layer. This paper will examine the evolution of these techniques and the computing systems to run them.

A variant of Amdahl’s law and an example COO equation to compute cost of ownership for the hardware platforms are developed. The practical aspects of the infrastructure needed to support extensive compute farms are examined, and newly emerging High Performance Computing (HPC) techniques are reviewed and contrasted.

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