The XOR Tool

The XOR tool performs a geometrical XOR (also ANOTB and BNOTA for asymmetric differences) on two layouts by performing the respective boolean operations layer by layer. The XOR tool is started using "XOR Tool" from the "Tools" menu). Currently, the tool compares all or just the visible layers. Currently, it compares layers from one layout vs. the identical layers from the other layout.

The current implementation employs a flat XOR processor. This limits the application somewhat to small and medium sized layouts and does not make use of hierarchy, which basically excludes applications for very hierarchical layouts (i.e. memory arrays). The memory footprint associated with the flat approach can be mitigated by using the tiling feature which performs the operation on a tile with limited size. This does not reduce the run times but the memory requirements.

The XOR tool allows specification of tolerances. Basically a tolerance is an undersizing step following the boolean operation. This way, small markers can be suppressed. This is particular useful to remove markers resulting from tiny differences between the layouts being compared. Multiple tolerances can be specified. In that case, multiple undersize steps are performed to create sets of layers with different tolerances each. For example, a tolerance specification of "0,0.001,0.005,0.010" will create four sets (marker categories) containing all difference markers and others for markers indicating differences larger than 1nm, 5nm and 10nm.

Tiling can be enabled by entering a tile size into the entry box. For semi-flat layouts such as standard cell blocks, a tile size of 1000 micron is a good starting point. The choice of the tile size mainly determines memory requirements.

The XOR tool allows sending the output either to a marker database or to another or one of the input layouts. The mode can be selected with the "Output" drop-down box. If output is sent to one of the original inputs, it is mandatory to specify a layer offset which maps the original layer to a new layer. An offset of "1000/0" for example means, that differences between shapes on layer "16/0" will be sent to "1016/0" for the first tolerance category and "2016/0" for the second.

Finally, the XOR can be confined to a region. This saves time if differences in parts of the layout are of interest. To select a region use the drop-down box next to "From region":