Getting to Tape Out and Film
After the design, synthesis, testing, simulation, and verification are all done, the final steps are almost anticlimactic. Once the engineering team is satisfied that the chip design will work, it's simply a matter of pressing a button to tape out the new chip. Far from the old days when each layer of silicon and metal was literally taped out by hand, tape out now consists of a few moments for a computer to produce a file and store it on a CD-ROM. Often engineers will print out these files and hang up the colorful poster-sized prints of the chip's design, but this is done more out of tradition and a sense of camaraderie than for any sound technical reasons.
Film is no longer really film anymore. The file produced by the EDA software is called a GDS-II database, and it takes the place of actual film. Transporting a film box to the foundry is pass ; uploading the GDS-II database is as simple as sending an e-mail.