GlobalFoundries enabling the next wave of ‘foundry’ innovation

May 20, 2010

According to Mojy Chian, Senior Vice President, Design Enablement, GlobalFoundries, continued innovation in the foundry business demands a new approach. He was speaking at the recently held International Electronics  Forum (IEF) 2010 organized by Future Horizons in Dresden, Germany.

GlobalFoundries is bringing a highly integrated model to foundry, which involves the extension of customer operations, early customer-foundry engagement, as well as close collaboration and joint technology development. This would enable faster time to volume and market, leading to smooth ramps to mature yields. Chian added that design, manufacturing, and EDA/IP solutions must work in unison to accomplish this.

According to him, the industry desperately needs a new approach. Here, he discussed GlobalFoundries’ 28nm collaborative innovation, which involves four phases.

Phase 1: Exploration

* For advanced technology, foundry engagement begins 2.5 years before product tapeout.
* Starts with exploration of design architecture, specification, and methodology.
* Foundry value proposition drives corresponding process selection.
* Early engagement locks in the process to the customer’s design requirements.

Phase 2: Optimization
* Design architecture and IP development begins.
* Performance, power, density, cost, TTM targets analyzed.
* Trade-off analysis of design and process targets, TTM, and manufacturability.
* Design and process technology are co-optimized.

Phase 3: Iteration
* Initial process and design test structures taped out.
* Process targets frozen – PDK 0.1 is released.
* Design implementation methodology finalized.
* Design performance and power targets are defined.

Phase 4: Implementation
* Concurrent and target-driven process and design implementation.
* Fine tuning of process and design – design implementation in high gear.
* Test chips taped out, chip level validation, PDK 0.2, 0.5, 0.9, and 1.0 released.
* Incremental march towards process qualification and risk production.

The ultimate goal: process qualified on same day as tapeout! Target-driven technology development and design enablement are at the core of accelerating time-to-market.

Design Enablement at GlobalFoundries is said to be an unique approach to bridging the gap between design and manufacturing. There is close collaboration and early engagement. Although product engineering heritage is not typically found at foundries, GlobalFoundries has been able to make use of the best practices from Chartered’s foundry experience.

All of this leads to optimized performance, leakage and yields, accelerated time to market, reduced design and manufacturing risks, integrated system-level functionality.

Earlier, Chian said that while design starts may be slowing, advanced technology continues to drive innovation and provide new value. Also, while the R&D costs may be rising, so is the revenue for advanced technology.

Changing landscape; close relationship with customers
There is a changing landscape at the leading edge. One, industry design rules are no longer binary. Also, passing design rules does not guarantee robust manufacturing. Pushing design rules can provide denser designs. There is an increasing need for interdependency of design and process. Also, design-technology co-optimization is essential. Chian added that the leading-edge chip designs are unique and require equally flexible design solutions.

Here, he highlighted GlobalFoundries’ attempt at delivering differentiated design solutions. According to him, close partnership with customers enables a collaborative development environment. There is early engagement that influences product planning and architecture. Not only these, it facilitates access to technology and design enablement experts as well, and leads to the establishment of trust and intimacy at the technical level.

Further, there is availability of customized solutions that maximize ROI. Also, you can optimize design/process to meet requirements. There are concurrent design and process development to improve TTM and TTV — also leading to interim PDK releases, as well as version 0.1 based IP releases.

Close partnership with the customer also optimizes the interface of design and process, leading to improved yields and increasing the competitive advantage.

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