File Compression Technology for the Semiconductor Industry

Breakthrough compressors for the GDSII and MEBES formats.

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.

Breakthrough Solutions

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.

Ensured reliability

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.

Benefits

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.

Improve reliability of file transfers 

Eliminate time consuming retransmissions, corrupted data, and partial transfers using Solution-Soft's SafeVelocity File Transfer Product. SafeVelocity is specifically designed to provide the highly reliable transfer of gigabyte-sized files while increasing security. In addition to its numerous error checking and auto-resume features, SafeVelocity is the only file transfer product that knows the size of files to be transferred in advance and automatically notifies users of transfer failures. 

Learn more about SafeVelocity by Solution-Soft

New Decompressor DLL

Solution-Soft's DLL [Dynamic Link Library] module allows transparent in-line decompression of GDSII and MEBES files with any EDA tool. When combined with our advanced GDSII or MEBES compressors the DLL will allow applications such as Cadence's K2 QuickView or Mentor Graphics' Calibre to read a compressed design file directly from the disk without needing to manually decompress the file before opening. 

Learn more about the new Decompressor DLL.

Customer Quotes

 
“Solution-Soft's gdzip helps another tapeout for us, it went most smoothly than before! It's support/R&D team continues to redevelop or improve our solutions to make it work better and better each and every year.”

EDM Director, One of the largest manufacturer of flash memory products in the world

 
“We standardized on gdzip & mezip for many years now with UMC and our mask shop partners.  With the volume of data that we have, the cost savings and operation efficiency gains are tremendous.  We are very happy with the products and Solution-Soft’s first rate of technical support.”

Peter Peng, 
Deputy Division Director, mask Engineering & Service Division, UMC.

"We use gdzip, mezip, and tapeout client everyday here at Xilinx. The products have more than paid for by themselves in just one year of production usage!"

Dr. Wolfgang J. Leitermann
Sr. Manager of Tapeout Operations, Xilinx