Mining Big Data to Deliver Big Results

Mar282013

More than 2.5 million terabytes of “Big Data” is created every day – collected from everywhere about everything – a truly astronomical sum.

The challenge is how to extract strategic insight and actionable information from mountains of data. The growth of Big Data repositories has given rise to a new class of highly sophisticated analytics. Already, many companies in various industries are reporting on the competitive and financial rewards from Big Data analytics.

Effectively utilizing Big Data can have a huge impact on improving manufacturing effectiveness. In microchip fabrication, it’s being utilized to shorten development cycles and to accelerate ramp to yield. Shrinking design rules and 3D integration are making chip fabrication more difficult. More complex measurement techniques are needed to develop and subsequently monitor repeatable and precise processes. These techniques generate substantially more data and typically incorporate higher sampling rates than before. The result is an exponential growth of metrology data that is difficult and time consuming to analyze and diagnose.

The Fab engineering community relies upon millions of electron microscope (CD-SEM) images to ensure nanoscale chip features are being constructed correctly. To rapidly distill all this data into practical intelligence, Applied Materials has developed an innovative data mining technology called TechEdge™ Prizm™.

The technology was originally developed to support the calibration and matching of all the CD-SEM tools in a factory. However, its sophisticated analytic capabilities led to a rapid expansion of its use to include process recipe, process integration and yield analysis.

The Prizm solution is a unique combination of software and hardware including a massively-powerful server. Today's servers are equipped with up to 1 terabyte of RAM and an 80-core processor. Combining this enterprise-class hardware with a high-performance database enables analytics that were previously not feasible. Teasing actionable insights from Big Data is what it’s all about and you can’t do it with yesterday’s hardware.

The Prizm product is proving its worth in some of the world’s leading chip fabs:

  • Reduced development cycles by at least 2 months
  • Reduced analysis time from 8 hours to 1 minute!
  • Reduced process development time by months
  • Reduced partially-completed wafers held for metrology issues.
  • Reduced time wasted re-working sub-standard lithography steps

These compelling results add up to a more efficient manufacturing process, able to bring new designs to market more quickly and produce more good die per wafer. It’s no wonder leading chipmakers are talking about our Prizm technology.

Semiconductor Manufacturing and Design recently examined Big Data in microchip fabrication. The article included perspectives from leading chipmakers and the Prizm technology was discussed as a solution. You can read the full article here.

Read ExtremeTech’s Joel Hruska's article on how TechEdge Prizm  uses big data to build better chips.