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Migrating to 64-bit Computing: Intel v. AMD
Posted Fri February 01, 2002 @06:35PM
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Hardware Desktop Engineering has an article covering the evolution of 64-bit computing and the products under development by Intel and AMD.

PC computing architecture has undergone evolutions to 16-bit (the 80286) and 32-bit (the 80386) computing in the past. Each step has provided better performance and more functionality for the PC platform. The step up to 64-bit computing will offer new functionality, but one question remains -- Is it worth it?

For some applications, such as large servers and specialized computing, a true 64-bit platform is necessary. However, many applications perform well on a 32-bit platform and avoid the memory bandwidth problem which comes from passing 64-bit words around.

Confusing the situation further is the fact that Intel and AMD are taking significantly different routes to 64-bit computing. Intel's Itanium processor is a completely new design -- one which was designed to run 64-bit code from the start. A side effect of this decision is that the Itanium executes 32-bit code slower than today's fastest 32-bit processors. While this may sound reasonable, recall that with the jump to 16-bit processing with the 286 and with the jump to 32-bit processing with the 386, the new processors still ran the old code base (8- and 16-bit, respectively) faster than the previous generation of chips.

AMD's new Hammer processors, however, are essentially extensions of their 32-bit processors to handle 64-bit operations. The result is a 64-bit CPU which will execute 32-bit code extremely well - a strong consideration given that 32-bit software will be around for a long time.

( Read Full Article )

Application: CFD Produces Better Photoresist Film Uniformity
Posted Thu January 31, 2002 @07:18PM
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Application CFD simulation helped to develop a new cluster spin bowl design that improved photoresist film uniformity and reduced particulate contamination of wafer surfaces. Designs were created for both 200mm and 300mm wafer diameters and optimized based on the modeling results over a range of operating conditions. These results were accomplished by developing a 3D model that predicted the flow field of the spin coater and made it possible to analyze different operating parameters and optimize the design of the spin bowl and exhaust system.

The air flow distribution in a spin coater has a critical effect on film thickness uniformity. The photoresist liquid contains a volatile solvent that evaporates during the spin coating process, and the final film thickness uniformity is determined by material spin-off and solvent evaporation. The solvent evaporation rate depends on the difference in partial pressures between the solvent in the air boundary layer next to the film surface and the bulk air over the surface, and on convective transport of air flowing over the wafer. If air flow near the wafer surface is different from the ideal flow induced by an infinite spinning disk, then the mass transfer coefficient at the wafer surface will change with radial position and the resist film thickness will not be radially uniform.

( Read Full Article | Application )

HEXPRESS : Automatic HEX-meshing made possible!
Posted Wed January 30, 2002 @06:53PM
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Grid Generation NUMECA International has announced the release of HEXPRESS™, a revolutionary new unstructured, pure-hexahedral, body-fitted mesh generator.

In response to the unanswered need to simplify unstructured mesh generation, while maintaining the accuracy inherent to hexahedral cells, NUMECA has extended its technological advancements to this arena. The initial response for this tool has been so favorable that many new requests are focusing on providing grid output directly for use with a wide variety of other commercial, unstructured solvers.

“HEXPRESS™ represents a revolutionary new concept in automatic unstructured hexahedral grid generation. We are convinced that this tool will drastically reduce your engineering time to produce high quality grids,” states Prof. Charles Hirsch, President of NUMECA International.

A user-friendly, comprehensive, and robust mesh wizard enables rapid, step-by-step grid generation initiated with CAD file importation. A volume-to-surface methodology with automated target mesh sizing rapidly provides an initial grid. Global (and local) mesh refinement can be achieved using surface curvature and/or number of cells between two surfaces as criteria. In addition, a target cell size applied globally or locally can be used to refine the mesh. HEXPRESS™ then automatically snaps the grid points to the CAD geometry and an advanced optimization algorithm is used to maximize grid quality. Finally, clustering is applied near the surfaces to enable the capture of boundary layer effects.

To simplify CAD integration, NUMECA has formed a partnership with CADfix™. The result is a simple and fast file importation for major CAD formats. In addition, a powerful and efficient CAD cleaning tool is available.

No-risk evaluations of the new tool are available.

( Post Comment | New Software )

New Software: Flow Science, Inc. Announces Release Of Version 8
Posted Wed January 30, 2002 @06:50PM
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News Flow Science, Inc. announces the availability of a major new release of its FLOW-3D® computational fluid dynamics software. FLOW-3D® Version 8.0 features many new models, functionalities and improvements designed to increase user productivity and capabilities, and is perhaps the biggest leap forward for the well-respected software package in several years.

The most significant new feature is the introduction of the ability to create multiple grid blocks in the design of a simulation. Multi-block gridding in FLOW-3D® will enable users modeling complex flow phenomena to run their simulations faster yet, at the same time, more efficiently use computer resources. Each block will span a certain region of the whole flow domain and contain the standard structured rectangular mesh. Blocks will be able to be nested (one block contained entirely within another block) or linked (blocks are joined at their boundaries). Users will also be able to apply multiple mesh boundary conditions at the domain boundaries.

Using linked blocks, users can reduce problem size (reducing runtimes and saving storage and memory requirements) to create a pattern of flow that is limited to the actual flow domain. Likewise, where a particular area within the flow domain is of most interest to a user, one or more nested blocks of greater resolution can be placed inside a larger block with coarser resolution to allow a higher degree of accuracy of simulation in areas of interest (and again saving running time and storage and memory requirements).

Other major aspects of Version 8.0 are a New STL Viewer; a New General Bubble Model; a New Sediment Scour Model; and a New Dielectric Phenomena Model.

( Post Comment | New Software )

BRN Adds Web-Based Evaluation Tool
Posted Tue January 29, 2002 @06:19PM
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News Blue Ridge Numerics has employed WebEx® web-based collaboration technology to facilitate the evaluation of its CFD software by potential customers as well as to enhance its support capabilities with current customers.

The technology allows BRN sales engineers to bring demos of their CFdesign software directly to the customer's desktops. Customer support will be greatly enhanced by the feature as well.

“Web-based collaboration tools really enhance the customer support experience,” says Jim Span, vice president of Marketing at Blue Ridge Numerics. “Instead of simply talking a customer through a problem over the phone, our customer support engineers remotely drive the CFdesign software installed on the customer’s desktop PC or network. It really enhances the learning process by letting the user visually see how their problems are resolved.”

( Post Comment )

SGI Introduces New Visual Workstation
Posted Tue January 29, 2002 @06:04PM
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Hardware SGI has introduced a new visual workstation aimed at desktop applications. The Silicon Graphics Fuel visual workstation is a blend of technology designed to offer a good price/performance value for a desktop machine.

The machine comes with the new R14000A MIPS processor at 500 or 600 MHz and VProTM V10 or V12 graphics. While raw processor speed lags today's hottest PCs, the high-bandwidth architecture and strong graphics performance make this a nice visual workstation.

The introductory price for the system is $11,495 US.

( Post Comment )

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