Using The Power Of The Interactive Tools:
Part 1 DeckBuild



This is the first article in a series of several that will hopefully highlight how to unleash more of the power that resides inside Silvaco's Interactive Tools. In this first article we will look at the DeckBuild runtime environment and some of its more powerful features.

The DeckBuild GO statement

In its basic form the GO statement is used to automatically interface between simulators. It instructs DeckBuild to end execution of the current simulation and start up the specified simulator. For compatible simulators, and where the Auto-interface option is turned on, this entails the current simulator saving the simulation status and the new simulator initializing, on startup, with the saved file.

The simulators default save and load syntax is used for the auto-interfacing controlled by DeckBuild. To give more flexibility, newly introduced flags can be specified in the GO statement to replace any default ones used in these commands. For example, the default load syntax for DevEdit is "init infile=<filename> !mesh" which loads the structure with no mesh. By using the following syntax with the GO statement the mesh can be loaded by default:

go devedit inflags="mesh"

This would result with the "!mesh" flag being replaced by "mesh" this can be seen in Figure 1.


Figure 1. Using the DeckBuild go statement.



This function may be useful if you wanted ti study the degree of obtuse triangles from the previous, ATHENA, mesh.

DevEdit should be used to completely free the mesh of Process Simulation generated, obtuse triangles.

In a similar way the default simulator save method can be overridden using the outflags argument

go <simulator> outflags="<flags>" .

Another very powerful feature of the GO statement is the ability to append flags to the default simulator argument. This means that the same simulator can be used in two different startup modes in the same simulation deck or even allow different versions of a simulator (say ATHENA) to be used over sections of the same input deck.

For example, to patch Beta software into your process flow for a specific single process step without having to use unreleased software for the entire experiment. This can be accomplished by initially using the default version of the simulator, and switching to the required Beta version only to execute the required new feature, as seen in the following example:

go athena
regular process steps
# Switch on the special feature version to patch
 go athena simflags="-V 3.1.5.B"
perform specific new feature step
# Return to default/release version
go athena
redefine models
regular process continues...

In addition, the GO statement can also be used to load or remove a MaskViews cutline file automatically. Usually cut files are loaded into DeckBuild manually from the Cutline popup, but the syntax below enables the specified cutfile to be loaded at runtime:

go athena cutline="/usr/jdoe/default/default.sec"

To remove the currently loaded cutline using the GO statement use

Go ATHENA'cutline=none'.

NOTE: the cutline argument should not be used in VWF Simulation Tools.

Batch mode DeckBuild

DeckBuild may be submitted as a batch command on the UNIX command line. This method of use will run an input deck and quit at the end of the deck. A number of jobs may be submitted for serial execution in this manner. The format of the command uses the '-run' option as follows

:deckbuild -athena -run <>

DeckBuild will appear on the screen as a closed Icon and execute the named input deck. DeckBuild may be opened to a full screen at any time during the execution. It will exit completely when the last command in the input deck has been executed.

If the runtime output is required to be stored into a separate file the following options may be used:

deckbuild -athena -run <> -outfile <filename>

Again, deckbuild will appear as an Icon and will execute the specified input deck. All Runtime output in this case will be appended to the named outfile.

If tests are to be executed while X Windows is not running (or in a screen locked mode) the '-ascii' option may be used as follows:

deckbuild -ath -run <> -outfile <filename> -ascii

DeckBuild will not appear as an Icon and will execute the specified input deck. All Runtime output will again be appended to the named outfile.

Structure files saved during batch jobs should be carefully thought out. Care should be taken not to over write structure files with subsequent runs in the same working directory. The Master Database for VWF automates this capability and therefore side steps the problem.

* Interactive Tools series of articles will be continued in the December issue of The Simulation Standard with more useful information on using DeckBuild.