Recognizing the challenge to transfer, manipulate, and store the exponentially-increasing size of IC design files, Solution-Soft has developed gdzip™ and mezip™, breakthrough compressors for the GDSII and MEBES formats used by the industry. The MEBES format is the most commonly used format for electron beam lithography and photomask production. The GDSII stream is the standard exchange format between the design world and the mask shops.
As designs become more complicated and the application of Optical Proximity Correction (OPC) more aggressive, the data volumes have exploded. It is now common to have designs in the Gigabyte (GB) range for both GDSII and MEBES files. In 2002, the maximum MEBES data volume for a single layer was about 100 GB, and this was predicted to increase to 150 GB and 200 GB in 2003 and 2004 respectively.
The large GDSII and MEBES file sizes create challenges for file transfer, manipulation, and storage. With the increasing popularity of the fabless trend and external mask shops, GDSII and MEBES files are constantly transferred electronically between design houses, foundries, mask shops, and tool vendors. Prolonged, large file transfers increase the tape out cycle time. These large files also decrease the reliability of transfers, because of transmission errors and line drops. These failures further increase the tape out cycle time.
The traditional approach is to use generic compressors, such as gzip and Unix compress, to make files smaller for transmission and storage. However, generic compressors can no longer meet the needs of the increasing file sizes in the semiconductor industry. Working with industry leaders, Solution-Soft has developed patent-pending breakthrough solutions, gdzip and mezip, that compress files as much as 10 times more than generic compression tools. These significantly increased compression ratios make the tape out process faster and easier by providing:
Faster file transfers
More reliable file transfers
Reduced network bandwidth usage
Significant online and off-line storage savings
Faster and smaller backups, archives and restores
Reduced management and infrastructure costs.
To ensure file integrity, our compressors create a block-by-block checksum (during the compression process) that can be used during decompression to verify that the decompressed file is identical to the original. This advanced block-level checksum provides superior data integrity to gzip, which generates only one file-level checksum.
If a generic compressor reduces a 1 GB file by 50% to 500 MB, Solution-Soft's compressors will typically compress that same file to between 250 MB and as little as 50 MB. This means that files compressed with our technology take less time to transfer and less time to store than files compressed with gzip, UNIX compress, or other common compressors.