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Numerical Technologies Founders Prize, Top EE Qualifying Exam Performer
The Numerical Technologies Founders awards were established by Dr. Yao-Ting Wang (Ph.D., 1997) and his advisor Professor Thomas Kailath, co-founders of Numerical Technologies, Inc., and their spouses. The company was created to commercialize the resolution enhancement techniques for optical lithography developed in Dr. Wang’s dissertation as part of a DARPA-sponsored project (1990-2000) on the applications of Control and Signal Processing to Semiconductor Manufacturing. The theme of the project was to demonstrate the power of the Mathematical Engineering approach: going from an ill-defined physical problem to an idealized mathematical model, its often-approximate solution, and then compromises for practical implementation and transition to industry. The first applications were to Rapid Thermal Processing and then to Optical Lithography where, when the project began, the industry was facing a so-called 100nm barrier. Numerical Technologies, in collaboration with Motorola, were the first to show that the barrier could be broken. This spurred further development of a host of resolution enhancement techniques the barrier has been lowered to 32nm. The company was founded in 1995, went public in 2000, and was acquired by Synopsis, Inc. in 2003. A different measure of the importance of the Mathematical Engineering approach is that the work on Rapid Thermal Processing won outstanding paper prizes in 1994 and 2003 from the IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing.