Variation analysis continues to be increasingly important as process technology moves to more advanced nodes. It comes as no surprise that tool development in this area has been vigorous and aggressive. New higher reliability IC applications, larger memory sizes and much higher production volumes require sophisticated yield analysis. We are way past the days where brute force Monte Carlo Analysis is practical. Increasingly, sophisticated statistical techniques are being applied to achieve large sample Monte Carlo results with much less simulation.
One of the most interesting participants in the area of variation analysis is Silvaco. We’ve seen them move into new product areas with decisive acquisitions and internal development. One such example is their IP business. With the addition of the IP Extreme portfolio, they have become a significant player. In the variation arena they have VarMan, their variation manager software.
Just looking on the surface, VarMan has some interesting features. It has a very easy to use GUI, it works with just about every golden SPICE simulator, and it supports LSF/SGE cluster operation. Digging into one particular application, they offer a suite of analysis capabilities that can decrease simulation while getting to the most important information needed for characterizing standard cells.
For standard cell library characterization, they offer a fast Monte Carlo that can reduce the number of runs necessary, offering up to a 30X speed up. This is extremely useful for lower sigma characterization. When looking for more detailed information beyond 3 sigma, VarMan offers a feature called Variability eXplorer.
In addition, there are several other analysis modes offered that will each help improve the efficiency and quality of variation analysis. By now you might be curious about how to learn more about the capabilities of VarMan. Naturally arranging a presentation is a hassle, but there is no substitute for a first hand presentation of the tool. Fortunately, Silvaco will be hosting webinar on VarMan on February 28[SUP]th[/SUP] at 10AM PST.
This webinar will be centered on standard cell characterization using VarMan. They intend to cover the key challenges in standard cell characterization. These include a large number of process corners, difficulty finding the worst case conditions, the large numbers of simulations necessary for high sigma verification, and the complexities added by local mismatch.
During the webinar Silvaco will talk about how several components of the VarMan tool can be used to effectively handle the task of characterizing standard cell libraries. Look for them to talk about their Fast Monte Carlo, Variaibility eXplorer, and Library VarMan in the context of high sigma performance limits and yield analysis.
Webinars are becoming my favorite way to learn about new products and technology. They are usually concise and once you sign up, you are frequently provided with a link to review the video later to help fill in the details on things you may have missed. Given that I write frequently write about technology, I usually am happy to see that there will be a webinar on topics I follow. The sign up for the upcoming VarMan webinar can be found on their website.
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