MANHASSET, N.Y. IBM Corp. has qualified Mentor Graphics' Calibre nmOPC and OPCverify computational lithography tools, which are accelerated with IBM's Cell processor technology, for production at 45 nm and smaller process nodes.
Performance requirements for computational chip lithography are outrunning the performance of general-purpose computing platforms. To address the problem, Mentor Graphics partnered with Mercury Computer Systems to optimize Calibre nmOPC and OPCverify software for the Cell Broadband Enginer processor.
Mercury provided a pre-integrated coprocessor acceleration (CPA) cluster including Cell BE blades as part of an IBM BladeCenter H system. Connecting the CPA cluster to users' existing standard computer clusters was said to provide big reductions in turnaround time and cost for advanced lithography.
"Cell BE multicore technology is a great fit for computational lithography due to its ability to accelerate the image simulation and Fast Fourier Transformation processing used in nmOPC," said Tim Farrell, distinguished engineer at IBM's Microelectronics Division.
"Our data indicates that a pure x86 system with 104 CPUs has a total cost of computing that is over 50 percent higher than a Cell/B.E. hybrid system providing the same Calibre nmOPC with CPA turnaround time," said Charles Albertalli, marketing director at Mentor's Design-to-Silicon division. "The relative advantage of Cell/B.E. increases as you add more capacity or go to a higher peak load system due to the superior scaling and power efficiency of Cell/B.E. technology. "
"A compute farm with 256 x86 cores plus 64 Cell/B.E.
processors provides the same OPC turnaround time as an x86-only system with 912 cores. In this case, the relative total cost of computing is almost twice as high for the x86-only system, " added Tom Kingsley, director of product marketing at Mentor Graphics' Design-to-Silicon division.
The IC design software for standard and CPA clusters is available from Mentor Graphics. The pre-integrated BladeCenter H CPA cluster is available from Mercury Computer Systems. Mentor is exhibiting the nmOPC solution at the SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference.
Activity in the computational lithography area is heating up. At this week's SPIE conference, Brion introduced its Tachyon 2.5, an optical proximity correction verification accelerator aimed at 32- and 22-nm designs. It also unveiled its Tachyon DPT aimed at the double-patterning lithography in advanced chip designs.