Howard Ko, SVP/GM, Silicon Engineering Group, Synopsys, Inc., Mountain View, CA USA
In the quest to develop products with higher functionality at lower cost, the semiconductor value chain is struggling to cope with the increasingly complex technologies and expenditures needed to develop leading-edge CMOS products. Though the nature of these challenges is not new, their intensity is unprecedented.
These challenges are fostering innovative ways to address technology, product development and manufacturing, among them the proliferation of alliances to share development costs and pool the intellectual capital needed to address rising complexity. In the midst of this significant value-chain realignment, a new trend has emerged as a cost-effective way to manage and implement technological complexity: predictive computational manufacturing. It’s now as much about the software as it is the hardware.
The companies that effectively utilize computational manufacturing will be better prepared to take advantage of the various technological options at their disposal. They will also be better equipped to generate the quantitative data necessary to make critical process architecture and technology option selections as they refine and implement processes for production. Whether it’s exploring device options such as high-k/metal gates or FinFET structures, or selecting the optimum lithography (extreme ultraviolet (EUV), e-beam direct write (EBDW), etc.) or resolution enhancement technology, proficiency in computational manufacturing will become a key determinant of a company’s success. Beyond the CMOS roadmap, the role of computational manufacturing will increase further as new materials and physical mechanisms are researched and deployed to realize the required logic and memory functions.
Ultimately, those companies that apply predictive computational manufacturing and actively engage in collaborative partnerships will achieve the best results in the shortest time will emerge as leaders. These companies will be better positioned to meet the challenges ahead.