March 12, 2014


Cluster Computing in SEMI for increased throughput.

Hello, I am basically from a distributed computing environment background working in semi domain software division. So definitely in this blog, I am going to talk only about the software part of semi equipment.   So do tune your mindset to deal with software performance of semi equipment’s.

Basically most of the successful semi conductor equipments in the industry work on legacy code which dates back to 10 years or more. With this legacy code as the base, the semi conductor domain faces lots of performance issues.

With the present industrial environment, there is only a single option left to us to increase the performance of semi-conductor equipment software’s is to rewrite the entire code base, which is practically not feasible and too costly. If implemented, it may take years to stabilize.

So I came up with a proposal where in with the same code base, the performance can be extracted to the edge by just changing the environment of the semi conductor’s equipment PCs, which may lead to a comparative increase in performance.

With present environmental setup, there is no guarantee that all the system may contribute efficiently for the performance of semi-conductor.  Upon adding resources for the increased performance involves more cost and wastage. So, implementing cluster based environment seems fair idea where in the resources are shared based on the work and the availability of resource thereby increasing the throughput.

Delighted to know about cluster? Here it comes

Wikipedia states Computer Cluster as

 “… a set of loosely connected or tightly connected computers that work together so that in many respects they can be viewed as a single system. The components of a cluster are usually connected to each other through fast LAN, with each node running its own instance of an operating system. Computer clusters emerged as a result of convergence of a number of computing trends including the availability of low cost microprocessors, high speed networks, and software for high performance distributed computing. Clusters are usually deployed to improve performance and availability over that of a single computer, while typically being much more cost-effective than single computers of comparable speed or availability.”

So why did I mention about Cluster here? You may think it’s irrelevant but there is an intention behind it and let me explain it. Let’s see what happens inside most of semi FABs.

There are a certain amount of PCs connected in a network for the processing of semi conductor equipment. The total numbers of PCs are directly proportional to the number of semi conductor equipment in the FAB. Not all times, all the PCs are fully utilized in the terms of processing and the computation. There are many times where most of the PC’s processing powers are not utilized and are well behind the threshold limit. In order to equally distribute for processing, the network load to all the PCs, the current system is not designed to handle it.

There comes the cluster computing concept, wherein if all the systems are connected in the cluster environment, the PCs connected jointly creates a pool of resources, such as processing pool, computation pool. The processes are collectively made to run with these pools of resources thereby increasing the processing of non-utilized resources efficiently.

Now let us consider an example,

In FAB, Minimum 3 to 4 systems (PC) are involved in interacting with the semi conductor equipment. Commonly there will be a GUI PC, main software PC, and Data base PC and host PC.  In well established FAB, there will be many semi equipments which will be controlled by a single host. Mostly each equipment will have a minimum of 3 PCs. commonly, there comes a situation where resource utilization fluctuates based on the load.

Thus, by connecting the PCs in the cluster environment fairly shares the resources based upon the load and evenly executes the processes, thereby extracting the maximum throughput. This in turn paves way for increasing the performance of the semi-conductor equipment software’s.HCL has an independent Semiconductor division that has provided one stop solutions for leading enterprises in the manufacturing sector.