Wednesday, March 14, 2012

GLOBALFOUNDRIES edging towards 20nm

Dresden, 2012-03-13 #DATE12

Mojy Chian, Senior Vice President Design Enablement at GLOBALFOUNDRIES, and Antun Domic, Senior Vice President and General Manager of synopsys gave a short press conference on the sideline of the ongoing DATE12 (Design, Automation & Test in Europe) this evening for a multinational press audience.

The main topic was the past and ongoing cooperation between the two companies, especially the  implementation of the forthcoming 20nm-technology, to be expected roughly coming to mass production around 2014, as Mr. Chian mentioned. He also mentioned, that cycles of new technologies roughly being in a 4-year-frame, with CPU producers being the earliest and most demanding customers, next to following mobile application producers. In order to get the ramp up smooth and in accelerated pace, once the technology is set for mass production the cooperation with chip designers, and testing facilities such as synopsys are essential. From the technology information given by the customer the design phase (including testing) is the most relevant part in the value chain, before manufacturing in large scale can begin.

Presently roughly 500 engineers work at GLOBALFOUNDRIES -scattered all around the three plants in Malta, USA, Dresden, Germany, to Singapore, and other facilities around the Globe- using remote work environments using the virtual collaboration tools the Web provides (and in which often chips from GLOBALFOUNDRIES can be found). The aim is, as Mr. Chian and Mr. Domic stressed to work on more and more standardized information technology formats, in order to make automated design, and testing easier. "As there are 1.001, no 1 Mio + 1 things to be in place", Mojy Chian mentioned, and almost made the room laugh, "it is crucial to work to together early on in the process."

EUVL tool, Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory
During the hour there came up the question on whether the EUV (Extreme ultraviolet lithography), which opens future chances, yet brings along quite some challenges that are not easy to overcome in short time, so it will not be applied for the forthcoming 20nm-technology, as Mr. Chian pointed out. He also stressed, that in context of the ongoing collaboration with synopsys "the amount of creativity what has been applied has been incredible", and there will be routes to be found that will tackle the upcoming challenges.

What we all could take from that hour is that chip design & manufacturing clearly define a next level in collaborative iterative learning, as ramping up of new production nears, and GLOBALFOUNDRIES and synopsys could very well be new role models in the context of "Lean Thinking".

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