The short product development cycle in today's semiconductor industry would not have been possible without the heavy support of computational resources. Technology computer-aided design (TCAD) plays a crucial role in semiconductor product development. TCAD aims to model the entire semiconductor process flow, as well as device and circuit operation. Such simulations are essential to obtain a better understanding of the underlying physics. Moreover, if appropriate physical models, together with numerical schemes solving the governing equations, are available, process flows or device designs can be optimized on the computer instead of doing time- and cost-intensive experiments in the real world.

An interesting aspect in the field of TCAD is that the complexity of some problems scales with the currently available computation power. This is in contrast to other technical fields, where it is acceptable to wait for faster central processing units (CPUs) to make a problem solvable. However, this is not possible in the semiconductor industry, since TCAD addresses the design of next generation CPUs.

As a consequence, TCAD is a demanding field always hindered by the constraint given by available computational resources. Hence, the development and usage of fast and well scaling algorithms is essential for TCAD in order to counter the increasing problem sizes.

Otmar Ertl: Numerical Methods for Topography Simulation