NVIDIA achieves breakthrough in computational lithography

A breakthrough in computational lithography will enable chipmakers to accelerate the design and manufacturing of next-generation chips. Lithography is the process of creating patterns on a silicon wafer.

The new NVIDIA cuLitho software library for computational lithography is being adopted by ASML, Synopsys and TSMC. It will enable chips with tinier transistors and wires than is now achievable, while accelerating time to market and improving energy efficiency.

“The chip industry is the foundation of nearly every other industry in the world. With lithography at the limits of physics, NVIDIA’s introduction of cuLitho and collaboration with our partners TSMC, ASML and Synopsys allows fabs to increase throughput, reduce their carbon footprint and set the foundation for 2nm and beyond,” said Jensen Huang, Founder and CEO of NVIDIA.

cuLitho runs on GPUs to deliver a performance leap of up to 40x beyond current lithography, accelerating massive computational workloads that currently consume tens of billions of CPU hours every year.

It enables 500 NVIDIA DGX H100 systems to achieve the work of 40,000 CPU systems, running all parts of the computational lithography process in parallel, helping reduce power needs and potential environmental impact.

Fabs using cuLitho can produce three to five times more photomasks daily and use nine times less power than current configurations. A photomask can now be processed overnight instead of two weeks.

“The cuLitho team has made admirable progress on speeding up computational lithography by moving expensive operations to GPU. This development opens up new possibilities for TSMC to deploy lithography solutions like inverse lithography technology and deep learning more broadly in chip manufacturing, making important contributions to the continuation of semiconductor scaling,” said CC Wei, CEO of TSMC.

“We are planning to integrate support for GPUs into all of our computational lithography software products. Our collaboration with NVIDIA on GPUs and cuLitho should result in tremendous benefit to computational lithography, and therefore to semiconductor scaling. This will be especially true in the era of high NA extreme ultraviolet lithography,” said Peter Wennink, CEO of ASML

“Computational lithography, specifically optical proximity correction, or OPC, is pushing the boundaries of compute workloads for the most advanced chips. By collaborating with our partner NVIDIA to run Synopsys OPC software on the cuLitho platform, we massively accelerated the performance from weeks to days! The team-up of our two leading companies continues to force amazing advances in the industry,” said Aart de Geus, Chair and CEO of Synopsys.

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