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Dawn at the OASIS

Joe Davis

Joe Davis

Posted Jan 22, 2011

Almost 10 years ago, as the industry was starting to adopt model-based OPC and other resolution enhancing techniques on a large scale, the ITRS got out its looking glass and saw an “explosion” in the size of the files used to describe chip layouts. As a result, a group of industry companies collaborated to create a SEMI spec for the OASIS format for layout data. The format was officially approved by SEMI in late 2005.

In 2006, Peggy Aycinena did a nice interview/article called “Midnight at the Oasis” on EDA Cafe (link to article). She interviewed a number of experts from industry, including Tom Grebinski and  Mentor’s own Steffen Schulze, Dir. of Marketing for Calibre’s Mask Data Prep solutions. One of the interesting questions in that interview was about the shelf life of OASIS — how long would it last? Interestingly, the panel guessed “Yes, 10 years … until 2011, at least”.  Now that it is 2011, it is even more interesting to see that OASIS has really been adopted as a standard only in the last few years and is still gaining speed. Definitely, we’ve  moved from “midnight” to “dawn”, and we can expect to see OASIS start pushing back from the manufacturing areas where it has become dominant into the design areas where data size is swiftly becoming a problem.

There are many reasons why it has taken as long to really start adopting OASIS as the original panelists thought the format would last. As pointed out in James A. Rodger’s paper on diffusion of software innovation (see link), how innovations fit into organizational structures and processes can be as important or more important to adoption than the direct benefits of the innovation. My colleagues and I took a look at the actual adoption curve of OASIS in the industry and the forces affecting its adoption.  The original paper was presented at the 2010 European Mask Conference in Grenoble, available online from the SPIE, and a general audience article was published on the DAC Knowledge Center. If you are interested in how OASIS has been adopted in the industry or in the diffusion of innovations in general, I encourage you to take a look.

The bottom line is that OASIS has become the de facto standard for post-TO layout files in the most advanced nodes and is rapidly moving back up the design flow. When your full chip GDSII is 30+Gb and the OASIS is 1Gb, you save a huge amount of time by not having to move those extra 29Gb in and out of your tools every day. Today, the leading edge chips are much bigger than 30Gb GDSII and OASIS really saves the day.  Eventually, design flows will have to deal with OASIS even earlier in the design flow.

diffusion of innovation, GDSII, Adoption, RET, tape-out, OASIS, OPC

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About Joe Davis

Joe DavisJoe Davis' career in the IC industry spans over 20 years at high-profile companies such as Analog Devices, Texas Instruments and PDF Solutions. He has worked on both sides of the EDA relationship, both designing ICs, and developing tools for IC designers and manufacturers. He is now Mentor's Product Manager for Calibre interactive and integration products where he applies his expertise in data visualization and engineering workflow. Prior to joining Mentor Joe was the senior product manager for yield simulation products at PDF Solutions where he managed semiconductor process-design technologies and services, including yield simulation and analysis tools. Joe enjoys sailing, gardening, hiking and living and working in new places and cultures, having built teams on three different continents. Joe earned his BSEE, MSEE and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University. Visit Joe Davis' Blog

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