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Go with the flow

Shape based routing is valuable in the battle to get chips to market faster and with higher yields. By Mark Waller.

There is a huge focus amongst chip designers on time to market, but a factor that is becoming increasingly important is time to yield. Getting a good yield from a design is just as important as getting it right first time and hitting the right market window. And these factors have never be more important than in embedded memory.
Putting megabytes of memory into a chip can have drastic effects on the yield, particularly as embedded memory only becomes cost effective at the tighter process geometries where getting an acceptable yield is still a challenge. This is why major memory manufacturers such as Elpida and Hynix are adopting shape based routing.
Most currently available routing tools are built around grid based algorithms. These take a complete design and break it up into a grid of small squares in a database, blocking out areas of the grid where components prevent wires being routed. Wires are then routed along grid lines to link up components in the design, using the number of squares in the grid to determine the minimum path for the routing.

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Mark Waller

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