GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Highlight Technology Innovation at DAC 2013

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GLOBALFOUNDRIES is ramping up for the Design Automation Conference (DAC) this summer! During the event, which runs from June 3-6 in Austin, Texas, GLOBALFOUNDRIES will be featuring the latest details on its mainstream and leading-edge technology solutions and roadmap.  

GLOBALFOUNDRIES will be located at booth #1314 at DAC 13 for the duration of the event. In addition to highlighting our new 14nm-XM FinFET technology that will deliver more than twice the energy efficiency of a 28nm-SLP technology-based design, we’ll be demonstrating several products, including:

  • 20nm/14XM solutions; 28nm design methodology (Analog and Digital)
  • 28nm Super Low Power (SLP) Technology with Gate First HKMG, the optimized solution for high performance mobile applications, fully enabled today with design kits and IP
  • GlobalShuttle, the Multi Project Wafer program for product prototyping, device characterization, IP validation and design enablement
  • RF CMOS and other value added solution process modules
  • DFM; analog and digital reference flows; process-specific applications

GLOBALFOUNDRIES will also host a series of one-hour private technical seminars daily, which  will touch on a variety of topics, from our collaborative work with ARM to produce smartphones on our 28nm-SLP HKMG process to parasitic challenges for FinFET designs and analog mixed signal flows and methodology for double patterning and FinFETs. Pre-registration will be required for these informative seminars.

In addition to the seminars, a number of presentations and theater presentations will be given throughout the week including:

Tuesday, June 4

  • Pavilion Panel, Dave McCann: Is This the Right Time to Create Standards for 2.5D/3D-IC Designs?
  • Synopsys Breakfast, Subi Kengeri and Kelvin Low: Ready for Deploying 14XM FinFETs in Your Next Mobile SoC Design Management Day, Bob Madge: Decision-Making for Complex ICs
  • Cadence IP Talks, Subi Kengeri: Enabling SoC level differentiation through advanced technology R&D

Wednesday, June 5

  • Mentor Panel, Richard Trihy, No Fear of FinFET
  • Pavilion Panel, Luigi Capodieci, Learn the Secrets of Design for Yield

For more information and to schedule meetings at the show, check out our DAC microsite.  

This Week: GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Present at Several Industry-Focused Events

This week will be very busy for GLOBALFOUNDRIES, as we’ll be attending and speaking at a handful of industry events. We’ve included all the important details below, including dates, sessions and more. We’re excited for the upcoming week and hope you’ll join us!

The Linley Group Mobile Conference

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On Wednesday, April 17th, GLOBALFOUNDRIES Executive Vice President Mike Noonen will present at The Linley Group Mobile Conference 2013. This two-day conference will feature technical presentations addressing design issues for mobile devices such as tablet computers, smartphones, navigation devices, media players and more. In addition to hearing an overview of the market and current technologies, attendees have the opportunity to attend talks and panel discussions covering a variety of topics.

Mike Noonen will be featured during session two, on mobile SoC design, which will be moderated by Scott Gardner, senior analyst at The Linley Group. Mike’s presentation, entitled “Lessons from Barcelona: The Future of Mobile Technology is Here,” will focus on the semiconductor industry’s progress in bringing FinFET technology to the mobile SoC market, as well as recent developments in FinFET technology by GLOBALFOUNDRIES and our partners.

GSA Silicon Summit

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On April 18th, Bruce Kleinman, GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ vice president of product marketing, will moderate a panel at the GSA Silicon Summit in Mountain View, CA. This event focuses on the business and technical factors which will yield revolutionary electronic devices in the future.

Bruce’s session, “Integration Challenges and Opportunities,” will cover the need for unifying silicon technologies and changing business models to advance the future of electronic devices. Panelists include Jim Aralis (Microsemi), Dr. Misha Burich (Altera), Dr. William Chen (ASE), Steve Longoria (Soitec) and Dr. Robert Rogenmoser (SuVolta). For more updates from this event, follow the Twitter hashtag #GSAsummit.

Electronic Design Process Symposium

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Finally, on Friday, April 19th, representatives from GLOBALFOUNDRIES will participate on a panel at the 2013 Electronic Design Process Symposium (EDPS). The EDPS, which is now in its 20th year, features the “free exchange of ideas” among top industry influencers in chips and systems. GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ Fellows, Srinivasa Banna and Luigi Capodieci, will speak at 1 p.m. about FinFET foundry design enablement challenges.

Follow our Twitter and Facebook pages for more information and updates on these events.

What’s In A Name?

By Subi Kengeri

Consumers continue to demand smaller, faster and more energy-efficient electronic devices, driving the semiconductor industry to accelerate development of commercially viable chips on more advanced nodes. However, these new nodes don’t just appear by magic. It takes a great deal of careful planning to develop and deliver a process technology platform that offers competitiveness, differentiation, and manufacturability. This is the job of my team at GlobalFoundries. It always has been difficult, but the transition to 20nm and beyond presents a host of new challenges, requiring a fundamentally new approach to technology architecture and definition.

Over the past few nodes, SoC designers have grown accustomed to a roughly 30% reduction in die cost from node to node. But 20nm is the first node on which foundries introduced true double-patterning lithography, which increases manufacturing costs, largely dependent on the target application. So there has to be something else to prompt customers to adopt this new node. For example, it is critical that a technology platform deliver SoC product value and designability, and has to be optimized for the customer’s target application. At 20nm, we really began looking at the product level value for customers, which we define in terms of the optimum combination of performance, power and cost (PPC), in addition to other customer care-abouts.

We took this to a whole new level with our recently launched 14nm-XM offering. Once we had optimized PPC for our 20nm planar SoC offering, we looked at what it means to incorporate 3D FinFETs on the next node. Going from planar to FinFET gives us a step jump in performance and power, but minimal benefit in die size because we chose to use the fully optimzed middle and backend of line from 20nm-LPM. The key was to architect 14nm-XM to ensure the performance and power advantages outweigh the lack of area improvement and to ease designability on the first generation FinFET offering. Leveraging the 20nm-LPM competitive density advantages and using the most optimal 3D fin structure, we expect to get back on the historical 60% to 70% SoC PPC improvement trajectory. We also expect to see a big benefit in time-to-volume (on a node to node basis) because we will leverage key technology modules and PDKs from 20nm-LPM, which we believe will allow our customers to design concurrently and accelerate our FinFET high volume ramp by about one year.

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But one question I often get asked is, ‘Why do we call it a 14nm technology if it relies so much on 20nm?’ First of all, we are using a true 14nm-class FinFET as the front-end device, which qualifies it as a 14nm technology. But in reality the naming of nodes has become somewhat arbitrary over the past several nodes. A node used to be named based on the smallest transistor feature size, which was typically the channel length. But channel length scaling stopped at about 45nm, so the industry does not actually have a 28nm gate in a 28nm technology. Secondly, the point of moving to a new node is the delivery of value to the customer. They need to see a SoC level product value, which really translates to the PPC, and 14nm-XM offers a full node value. As long as customers see at least this level of value, they frankly don’t care what the technology is called or what is inside.

Now we need to find a way to deliver this same product level value at 10nm. The whole industry has quite a few challenges going to 10nm. FinFETs are scalable and will have a long life, but we will have already realized the performance and power value from the front-end device with 14nm-XM. We don’t expect extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography will be ready, at least not at the beginning of the node, which means we will have more layers that require multiple patterning and therefore significant cost increases. We will need to find other ways to provide performance and power benefits to deliver a total PPC to stay on the SoC value trajectory. We have been working on this and 7nm technologies for several years and we are very close to nailing down a competitive 10nm technology architecture. We are running 10nm devices in silicon and I am confident we will deliver the value our customers have come to expect.

For more detail on this topic, check out the recent interview with SemiMD’s Mark LaPedus, where we talk about FinFETs, EUV, and Moore’s Law.

Subramani “Subi” Kengeri is vice president of advanced technology architecture at GLOBALFOUNDRIES.

This post also appeared on Chip Design Magazine

GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Highlight 20/14nm Extractions and FinFET Technology at 2013 Synopsys User Group Conference

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Next week GLOBALFOUNDRIES will be attending and presenting at the 2013 Synopsys User Group (SNUG) Conference in Santa Clara, CA on March 25 to 27. Attendees will receive practical information on a variety of topics useful for jumpstarting future design or advancing innovation projects. We are looking forward to sharing our perspective on the industry, as well as technological advances with our partners and other members of the manufacturing community.

During the conference, GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ Design Methodology team will present their findings and flow recommendations on the 14 and 20nm extractions/STA on Monday, March 25 at 3:45 p.m. During this session, attendees will get a firsthand look at what exactly is required to perform 14nm and 20nm double patterning-aware extraction and static timing analysis. We have collaborated with Synopsys on validating the capabilities of the StarRC and PrimeTime-SI for those advanced nodes.

In addition to our Design Team presentation, GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ Vice President of Advanced Technology Architecture, Subramani Kengeri, will participate in a FinFET technology panel on Tuesday, March 26 at 10:30 a.m.. Kengeri will join other leading developers of FinFET technology and early adopters of FinFET-based design flow to discuss the future of the technology and the challenges they face. Panelists will highlight the evolution of transistors from microns to nanometers, as well as the future evolution into three dimensions. FinFET devices have the potential to deliver both power and performance characteristics necessary for today’s mobile computing market. The panel also will touch on challenges in developing the process and design flow for FinFETs and the importance of maintaining ecosystem partnerships.

In addition to these activities, GLOBALFOUNDRIES representatives will be available on the exhibit show floor on March 25 from 4 to 8 p.m. during the SNUG Designer Community Expo. This is a great time to learn more about GLOBALFOUNDRIES, including our design, products and partner collaboration projects. We look forward to seeing you there! 

“Layer Cakes” and Mobile Devices – Yes, There’s a Connection

By Dr. John Heinlein

There’s no denying the pervasiveness of mobile devices and mobile communications technologies. These applications are obviously changing how we communicate and share information, but also increasingly how we do business.  And consumers keep expecting more from their mobile devices.  Today, the performance and capability in high-end smartphones and certainly tablet computers are getting on a par with notebook computers. Consumers who previously didn’t know or care about technical specifications are being barraged with milliwatts, gigahertz, and nanometers.  Form factors of devices are becoming more and more critical to differentiating a device, where new devices are measured in millimeters and grams compared to prior generations.  And of course, there is the pervasive need for more battery life.  The irony is that making devices smaller and thinner means less volume (and mass) for the lithium ion-based chemical batteries that are today’s standard energy carrier. Consumers still expect their devices to do more and also last longer when running, as well as when they are on stand-by.

These increasing expectations for mobile present opportunities as well as technical challenges that we in the semiconductor industry must address.

My wife will attest that I have an insatiable sweet tooth, and so it’s not surprising that I equate this problem with a layer cake, featuring many layers (chocolate, thank you very much).  Like a well-formed layer cake, the problem of delivering leading, next-generation mobile devices is not solved through any one component or technology. It takes a solution with all the layers of the stack working together.

At the highest level, the ARM Connected Community features over 970 partners who deliver value-added capabilities to the ARM partnership.  These providers span applications, middleware, tools, IP blocks, design services, and a whole host of other capabilities, and the breadth of the ecosystem supports the richness of capabilities that enables the mobile devices we love.

ARM itself focuses our efforts on a range of technologies that are important to the middle layers of the cake.  ARM delivers our industry-leading, energy-efficient Cortex™ processors and Mali™ graphics processors, and we continue to lead the way with continued innovation.  We recently rolled out our unique big.LITTLE technology, which gives the best of both worlds of high performance and energy efficiency.  We provide CoreLink™ system IP that connects the system together and increases performance and capabilities for sharing information across devices.  And finally we deliver Artisan® physical IP that helps designers implement these designs for manufacturing.

The lowest level of the cake involves realizing these conceptual designs into actual silicon chips that power the broad array of mobile devices. This job falls to semiconductor foundries like GLOBALFOUNDRIES, which has partnered with ARM for many years on mobile innovation. The foundry ecosystem provides a proven manufacturing solution for fabless companies, enabling the amazing growth and diversity of devices in the marketplace today.  Through this solution, the industry is delivering high-volume 28nm solutions in the market place and driving rapidly towards tapeouts of 20nm devices next year.  GLOBALFOUNDRIES, for its part, is investing heavily in its 20nm-LPM process technology, which delivers a fully scaled metallization compared to the 28nm node.  While often the focus in the media is on transistor performance, scaling the metal is critically important as well, as it drives area improvements, cost reduction and power reduction.

With GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ recent announcement of its 14nm-XM technology, the company is going beyond the 20nm node and looking to the future, and I for one think its approach is pragmatic.  It’s critical that the industry continue the pace of innovation and deliver the next wave of transistor capabilities for production in the 2014 time frame.  The growing consensus is that devices beyond 20nm will be based on a FinFET transistor, a 3D device where the current flow can be more effectively controlled using a gate on both sides of the conducting channel.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES has invested in R&D on FinFET devices for years now and it intends to roll out its FinFET-based 14nm-XM (for “eXtreme Mobility”) technology in 2013, targeting production volume in 2014.  This process technology is projected to provide significant scaling and improvement in energy-efficiency compared to previous nodes, and has the potential to extend the kinds of scaling that we have enjoyed from Moore’s Law for so many years. Given the complexity of rolling out a new device technology, the approach leverages the metal solution from 20nm-LPM. This reduces one of the major risk factors in rolling out a new technology, since metal scaling is also a key challenge for manufacturability.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES has also committed to collaborating with ARM to jointly optimize this process technology specifically for next-generation ARM processors and graphics for the mobile market. This joint optimization is delivered in part through the ARM POP™ IP product line for chip optimization and risk reduction, is a key element in assuring customers get to market quickly with new designs.  By delivering POP IP for GLOBALFOUNDRIES 20nm-LPM and 14nm-XM technologies, we can assure the pace of innovation continues into the future.

We are excited that the foundry industry is responding with aggressive technologies that will help drive the next generation of manufacturing and look forward to the exciting new products that this technology will enable.

Dr. John Heinlein is vice president of marketing for the Physical IP Division at ARM

Architecting Advanced Technologies: Not All FinFETs are Created Equal

By Gregg Bartlett

The explosion of popularity in mobile computing has sent shockwaves through the entire semiconductor ecosystem. Gartner researchers predict that smartphone shipments will jump from 178 million in 2009 to more than 800 million in 2013. And it’s not just the increasing number of smartphones that is changing the landscape, but it’s also the way people are using them. According to a recent study by KPCB, the average smartphone user is now spending approximately one hour per day—nearly 60% of the time on their device—on activities other than telephony and email, such as web browsing, map software, games, and social networking.

Of course this appetite for computation-intensive tasks is driving demand for more powerful processors, but battery Iife still remains a top priority, and battery technology has not kept up the pace with the increasing demand of smart mobile computing. This puts the responsibility for innovation squarely on the shoulders of Technology Architects and SoC designers, who have been forced to completely rethink their approach to delivering end-product value with each new technology generation.

At GLOBALFOUNDRIES, we saw the industry need for a new approach to technology definition to keep up with the rapidly changing needs of the market. As we got to 20nm and beyond, we saw a major shift: for the first time in the history of our industry, mobile SoCs are beginning to drive leading-edge process technology instead of discrete CPUs and GPUs. With this change in the market, we had to look at a different set of metrics to determine the value proposition of each new technology node. For example, the “performance at all costs” mentality that drove much of the innovation in recent years will not work in this brave new world. Neither will a myopic focus on just making better and more transistors to squeeze onto a piece of silicon.

Mobile SoCs require a delicate balance between performance and power consumption, while minimizing both die size and cost. At the same time, technologies must be architected for optimum manufacturability and ease of design, to ensure the critical value of Advanced Technology elements are reflected in the SoC Product Value, without getting lost in translation. Additionally, consideration needs to be given to SoC-level concerns beyond the transistor architecture, such as overall system-level performance and specific mobile applications needs.

The transition from 20nm to 14nm represents an important inflection point, and at GLOBALFOUNDRIES we have introduced a new technology that takes full advantage of the latest advances in device architecture while keeping the bigger SoC product-level picture in view. With our new 14nm-XM offering, we have accelerated our leading-edge roadmap to deliver a technology optimized for the fast-growing smart mobile computing market. 14nm-XM will give customers the performance and power benefits of three-dimensional “FinFET” transistors with less risk and a faster time-to-market, helping the fabless ecosystem maintain its leadership in mobility while enabling a new generation of smart mobile devices. The XM stands for “eXtreme Mobility,” and it is a cost-effective and power-optimized architecture that is ideally suited for mobile SoC designs, providing a whole product solution from the transistor all the way up to the system level.

Our 14nm-XM offering is based on a modular technology architecture that uses a 14nm FinFET device combined with elements of our 20nm-LPM process, which is well on its way to production. It leverages the proven Middle of Line (MOL) from 20nm-LPM with density and cost optimized design rules to enable 8T standard cells. Our 80nm single-patterned Back End of Line (BEOL) capability combined with high density 64nm 1X layer offers unique cost advantage and competes with industry-leading 14nm technology. Combine this with our unique “fin-friendly” layout rules for faster porting of existing design IP, and 14nm-XM is able to leverage the maturity of the 20nm-LPM technology to give SoC designers a smooth transition to FinFETs on an accelerated schedule.

Another critical aspect of delivering a fully SoC-optimized solution is the ability to leverage the entire ecosystem of industry expertise, from EDA and design solutions partners to IP providers. FinFET technology comes with new considerations, especially for the SoC design community.  Our process R&D and technology architecture teams have been working closely with both internal design teams as well as design ecosystem partners to co-optimize the technology and design environments to ensure remove all design barriers on the foundry industry’s first generation FinFET technology. In fact, we recently announced a new multi-year agreement with our longstanding partner ARM to jointly deliver optimized SoC solutions for advanced ARM mobile processor designs on FinFET technologies. You can read more about this partnership in a recent blog written by my colleague Mike Noonen, our executive vice president of marketing and sales.

As Mike noted, this new industry landscape presents a number of challenges beyond the technical hurdles of shrinking transistors. I believe that re-thinking our approach to technology architecture, while driving earlier and deeper collaboration across the entire ecosystem, will allow us to overcome these challenges and continue to deliver on the promise of Moore’s Law. The ultimate goal is to enable our customers to succeed in their respective businesses. And based on input from customers and partners, 14nm-XM is well positioned to fulfill this critical objective.

Gregg Bartlett is Chief Technology Officer at GLOBALFOUNDRIES. He is responsible for the company technology strategy, research, technology partnerships and alliances, and packaging technology development. He serves as the company’s primary spokesperson on technology matters.