Congratulations to Mr. Bentian Jiang (CSE), Mr. Xiaopeng Zhang, Mr. Ran Chen (CSE), and Mr. Wei Li (CSE), supervised by Prof. Evangeline F. Y. Young and Prof. Bei Yu won the Second Place of the ICCAD 2018 International CAD Contest on the topic of timing-aware fill insertion.

The CAD Contest at ICCAD is a challenging, multi-month, research and development competition, focusing on advanced, real-world problems in the field of Electronic Design Automation (EDA). It is open to multi-person teams world-wide (112 teams from 12 regions in 2015, 135 teams from 11 regions in 2016, and 123 teams from 10 regions in 2017, 136 teams from 11 regions in 2018). The organizing committee of ICCAD2018 Contest announced three challenging problems in different topic areas provided by industrial companies.

It is a mandatory step in modern semiconductor manufacturing process to fill the empty conductor layers with metal fills. These fills can reduce the dielectric thickness variation, increase planarity, and provide better pattern density, all of which are important to mitigate the process variability thereby achieving better yield. In this timing-aware dummy fill insertion contest, contestants are required to insert metal fills subject to the density criteria and design rules, while minimizing the total equivalent capacitance of the given critical nets. After the preliminary phase, only 17 teams remained for the final phase.