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Unsupervised algorithms for the automatic classification of EWS maps: a

comparison

Federico Di Palma, Giuseppe De Nicolao

University of Pavia

Via Ferrata 1, 27100 Pavia, Italy

{federico.dipalma-giuseppe.denicolao}@unipv.it

Oliver M. Donzelli, Guido Miraglia

STM-Microelectronics

Via Olivetti, Agrate Brianza, Italy

{oliver.donzelli-guido.miraglia}@st.com

Abstract – Recently, it has been shown that the

classification of Electical Wafer Sorting failure maps can

be performed by means o funsupervised methods. In this

work four different unsupervised methods are compared:

SOM, K-Means, Neural Gas, and an Expectation

Maximization. The algorithms are compared using a

benchmark based on a probabilistic model. The

performance of the classification is assessed by means of

an new index call Index-F based on the knowledge of the

real classification. Moreover it is studied the correlation

between the proposed index and the following indexes:

CH-index, D-index, I-index and average likelihood.

INTRODUCTION

If the devices that fail at the Electrical Wafer Sorting

(EWS) tests are visualized as black pixels, the spatial

distribution of the failures is likely to show characteristic

patterns. Different shapes are possible: circular spots,

rings, semi-ring, repetitive chessboard-like patterns, to

mention the most frequent. These patterns can be used to

trace back to the problems that originated the failures

either by analyzing their qualitative features or by

correlating them with the lot history. Hence, the interest

for algorithms that perform the automatic classification of

large wafer sets on the basis of their EWS maps. Two

approaches are possible: the supervised and the

unsupervised ones. The supervised classifiers require the

preliminary classification of a training set of wafers by a

human operator. This approach is time consuming and

when the process and/or the product changes the training

has to be performed ex-novo. Recently, it has been shown

that wafer classification can be performed by means of

unsupervised methods: these algorithms create clusters of

wafers by identifying their common features and do not

use any training set. In [1], the Kohonen's Self Organizing

Map (SOM) has been used successfully to classify EWS

wafer maps. Several other unsupervised learning methods

may be used to classify wafer maps.

The first aim of this paper is to compare four different

unsupervised methods: SOM, K-Means, Neural Gas and

an Expectation Maximization (EM) classifier. The

algorithms are compared using a benchmark based on a

probabilistic model. The performance of the classification

is assessed by means of an index (here denoted as F-

index) that measures the misclassification rate.

Another important issue is finding indexes that measure

the classification goodness and are appliable to real data.

In fact with real data the F-index (which assumes the

knowledge of the true classification) is no longer usable.

Hence the second aim of this work is to study the

correlation between the F-index and the following indexes

[2]: CH-index, D-index, I-index and average likelihood.

In the following section the probabilistic model, the F-

index and the benchmark are presented. The third section

is devoted to description of the clustering algorithms. The

fourth one illustrates the results of the comparison. The

choice of a clustering index appliable to real data is

discussed in Section 5. The conclusion summarizes the

main results.

PRELIMINARIES

To make a comparison a goodness criterion is required.

The proposed measure is based on the knowledge of the

correct classification. Hence the need for a benchmark

made of simulated wafer maps whose true classification is

known. In order to obtain the simulated data a

probabilistic model is adopted.

Probabilistic Model

In [1] a probabilistic model was proposed. According to

this model the electrical test of a die has only two results:

good (0) or failed (1). Then a binary Bernoulli variable Xd

is used describe the outcome of the EWS test for the d-th

die. It was assumed that the electrical failure of a single

device occurs independently of the failure of the others

with a probability P(Xd=1)=f(xd,yd) where xd and yd are the

planar coordinates of the die d. A complete wafer Xw can

be created by simulating Nd Bernoulli trials. The origin of

the planar coordinates is placed in the center of the wafer

and the scales of the cartesian axes are such that the wafer

has radius one. This system of coordinates allows one to

describes different scales of integration with the same

spatial probability.

The benchmark

A set of production lots is often affected by several

failures with different occurrence rates. In this work we

simulated 8 classes each of which characterized by its own

spatial distribution, reported in Figure 1. The spatial

distributions reflect some common failure patterns:

standard production (Class #2), low yield wafers (Class

#1) repetitive horizontal and vertical (Classes #5 and #6),

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spot and ring (Classes #3, #4 and #8), semi-ring (Class

#7). The clustering algorithms were tested on several

benchmarks with different number of devices (Nd) and

wafers (Nw) as shown in Table 1

Figure 1: Spatial probability of the simulated classes

Benchmark123456

# Wafers300 5008001200300 500

# Dies601 601601601377377

Benchmark789 10 1112

# Wafers80012003005008001200

# Dies601601950950950950

Table 1. The twelve data set of the benchmark

Classification assessment

In a classification two kinds of error can be observed: an

identified class includes elements coming from different

real classes, or a real class is splitted into two or more

identified classes. The first kind of misclassification can

be disruptive for diagnosis purposes. In fact the reference

pattern is explained by the union of different physical

problems whose separate detection becomes problematic.

Conversely, if a real class is splitted into two or more

classes, each identified class is made of wafer

characterized by the same physical problem. This

misclassification is much less harmful because in the

process diagnosis it is possible to merge together class

whose reference pattern are similar. For this reason a good

classification have to produce homogeneous clusters, each

of which made of wafers belonging to the same real class.

A simply way to visualize the number and type of

misclassified items is given by the scatter matrix [3]. In

Table 2 the scatter matrix of a 4 cluster classification of

100 items that belongs to 3 real classes is reported. It can

be observed that only clusters #2 and #4 are

homogeneous. Clusters #1 and #3 present respectively 4

and 2 elements that are not homogenous. These elements

are called "misplaced". For each identified cluster j it is

possible obtain the number of misplaced elements as

( )

j

()()

∑

i

=

−=

c

N

i

jiTjiTM

~

1

,max,

where with T(i,j) denotes the scatter matrix and Ñc is the

number of real classes. To measure the degree of

homogeneity of the classification we introduce a new

index ,called F-index, defined as

( )

j

∑

i

=

−

N

=

c

N

cw

c

M

N

N

F

1

~1

~

It can be shown that the F-Index ranges from 0 (optimal

clustering) up to 1 (worst clustering).

N1

N2

N3

N4

Ñ1

160 140

Ñ2

04500

Ñ3

40219

Table 2. Scatter matrix of a four class clustering of 100 data

belonging to three real classes

CLUSTERING ALGORITHMS

In this work are compared three well-known unsupervised

clustering algorithms: SOM, Neural Gas, K-Mean. This

neural network techniques generate a cluster for each

neuron. In each neuron c is stored a Nd-dimension vector

pc that represent the centroid of the cluster c.

K-means

This algorithm is the simplest and fastest one. A single

iteration is composed by two steps. In the first one each

data is associated with the nearest cluster center. In the

second step the centers are updated by computing the

barycenter (centroid) of each cluster. The two steps are

repeated until the centers do not change. The parameters

of this algorithm are the number of clusters Nc and the

initial values of the cluster centers W0. It is important to

notice that if two cluster centers have been initialized with

the same center, the algorithm can encounter difficulties.

SOM

In a SOM network the neurons are organized on a r×c

grid. At each iteration t a single wafer Xw (a binary vector)

is presented to the network and winner neuron V is

defined as

cw

c

pXV

−=

minarg

where pc is the characteristic pattern of the c-th class, that

is a real vector whose entries belongs to [0,1]. Then all the

neurons are updated as follows

) (

Vcthpp,,δ

()(

)

cwcc

pX

−⋅+=

Γ

(1)

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where δ(c,V) is the distance on the grid between neurons c

and V and hΓ(.,.) is a suitable function monotonic

decreasing in both its arguments. An interesting feature of

the SOM is that similar reference patterns are put close to

each other on the neuron grid. The function hΓ in (1)

depends on a parameter set Γ which include the following

parameters [4]: initial ηi and final ηf learning rate, initial σi

and final σf effective width of the topological

neighbourhood and total number of iterations tf.

In [1] the authors proposed a choice of Γ for the clustering

of EWS maps. It was observed that the the first 4

parameters affected the speed of learning [5] while the last

has to do with the overall learning time. The first four

parameter were fixed to general purpose values [4] and a

fine tuning of the parameter tf. was performed. The

proposed set is reported in Table 3.

ηi

ηf

σi

σf

λi

λf

tf

Γ .5.0053.1-- 80 Nw

Δ.5.005-- 10.150 Nw

Table 3.Parameter Setting for SOM and Neural Gas

Neural Gas

The Neural Gas is quite similar to the SOM algorithm. The

main difference is due to the fact that the neurons

topology (e.g. the neuron grid in the SOM) is not fixed. At

each iteration the neurons are ordered according to the

distance from the proposed input (wafer). The nearest

neuron has order 0 and the last has order Nc-1. The

training update of the neurons is done according to

) (

Xcltgpp,

( )(

)

cwcc

p

−⋅+=

∆

(2)

where l(c) is the order of neuron c and gΔ(.,.)is a function

monotonic decreasing in both its arguments. The function

gΔ in (2) depends on a parameter set Δ [4]:

{

ffifi

t ,,,,

}

λληη=∆

where λi and λf affect the amount of information to give to

the "far" neurons. The consideration made for the SOM

method still hold for the Neural Gas. In particular the

same tuning procedure can be adopted: the first 4

parameter of Δ ware fixed to general purpose value and a

fine tuning was made on tf. Several classifications were

performed on the benchmarks described in Section 2 and

the F-index was used to assess the performance. The

optimal parameter values are reported in Table 3.

Expectation Maximization (EM)

Given the observations X and a probabilistic model

characterized by a parameter vector θ, the likelihood L is

given by L=P(X|θ). According to our probabilistic model

the parameters are the Nc probability vectors pc and the

data are the Nw binary vectors Xw. The maximum

likelihood estimate θML is the vector that maximize the

likelihood. The EM is just an efficient algorithm to

perform such a maximization in classification problem. A

notable property of the method is that it guarantees an

increase of the likelihood at each iteration.

SOM K-mean GasEM

Random .02816 .04262.03958.20953

Centre .02931.04036 .04308.19346

Prototypes.02871.07915.03789 .61586

Data mean .02929.08779 .04332.21315

Min-Max.02943.08182.04310.60589

Table 4. Value of the F-Index in 60 experiments using different

initialization techniques

COMPARISON

All the algorithm considered have two types of

parameters: the number of clusters Nc and the initial

values of the references patterns of the classes.

The number of clusters is not a critical choice for this

application. In fact as already observed, in the

classification of EWS maps the main target is to find

homogenous clusters. This is possible only if the number

of identified classes Nc is greater than the true one Ñc. If

we have some a priori knowledge on Ñc it makes sense

overestimate Nc. In the benchmark, we let Nc=12.

Conversely, the initial reference pattern may affect the

performance of the classifier. In order to choose the best

methods, different initializations were considered [6]:

Random In this initialization the patterns are chosen

randomly from the valid set.

Center This initialization requires that the valid starting

points define a limited region; then the technique chooses

the center of the validity set as starting point. In order to

obtain different values for each neuron a small random

perturbation is added.

Random Prototypes Nc randomly chosen data are used as

initialization.

Data Mean This initialization chooses as starting point the

mean of the data set. In order to obtain different values for

each neuron a small random perturbation is added.

Min Max This techniques use an algorithm to select Nc

well distanced data as starting point.

For each benchmark 60 different initialization were

generated for each technique. For each classification the

F-Index was evaluated. In Table 4 the average over the 12

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benchmarks of the median of the F-index over the 60

experiments are reported.

If the bold values in Table 4 are considered, it can be

notice that SOM gives the best performances.

MEASURING CLASSIFICATION PERFORMANCES

ON REAL DATA

The evaluation of the F-Index requires the knowledge of

the true classification, that is obviously not available in a

real problem. To assess the performance of a classification

some other clustering index must be used. Generally these

indexes evaluate the within-class and the between-class

distances. The first factor is an index of the wafer

closeness to the reference pattern while the second one

evaluates the distance between the clusters. The most

widespread ones are [2]: Davies-Bouldin (DB), Dunn (D),

Calinski Harabasz (CH) and I indexes. All of them regard

a classification with compact and well separated cluster as

a good one. However, for our specific application the

distance between classes is not the main concern,

especially if two or more real classes are close to each

other. A further index is the likelihood introduced in

Section 3. For computational reason we use the "average

device likelihood" (AL) defined as:

wcNN

L AL =

The goal of our study is to find the index that best

approximates the F-Index. For this purpose, from each of

the 12 benchmarks 30 different clusterings were randomly

created. For each classification all the indexes was

evaluated. In Figure 2 some significant scatter plots are

reported. Then for each index and benchmark the

correlation coefficient was computed. Table 5 shows the

average correlation coefficient with the F-Index. It can be

noticed that the AL and CH indexes gives the best

correlation.

DB CHDI AL

.9885-.9912 -.5649.8939 -.9914

Table 5. Correlation Coefficient between F-Index and other

clustering indexes.

CONCLUSION

In this work a comparison was made between some

clustering techniques applied to EWS maps classification:

k-means, SOM, Neural gas and EM. The last method and

the simulated benchmark are based on a simple

probabilistic model. In order to evaluate the performances

of a classification, a new index, called F-Index, was

introduced. This index was created considering the

possible use for fault detection in a semiconductor

manufacturing environment. The classifiers were tested

simulating different numbers of devices and wafers. From

this analysis it turns out that the SOM is most suitable

algorithms. The last result presented in this work is the

choice of a performance index to be used the classification

of real data. The objective was to find an index that

correlates well with the F-Index, which is proportional to

the number of misclassified wafer but requires the

knowledge of the correct classification. It turns out to be

the Average Likelihood and the CH Index.

Figure 2. Comparison of indexes measuring the classification

goodness. The AL and the CH index correlate well with the F-

index that is proportional to the number of misclassified items

REFERENCES

[1] F DiPalma, G DeNicolao, E Pasquinetti, G Miraglia, F

Piccinini, “Unsupervised spatial pattern classification of

electrical failures in semiconductor manufacturing,

Pattern Recognition Letters, 2005 (to appear).

[2] U. Maulik and S. Bandyopadyay, “Performance

eavaluation of some clustering algorithms and validity

indices,” IEEE Trans. Pattern Anal. Machine Intell., vol.

24, no. 12, pp. 1650–1654, 2002.

[3] A. D. Gordon, On Classification. London: Chapman &

Hall/CRC, 1999.

[4] B. Fritzke, Some competitive learning methods, 1997,

Ruhr-Universität Bochum. ftp://ftp.neuroinformatik.ruhr-

uni-bochum.de/pub/software/NN/DemoGNG/sclm.ps.gz

[5] S. Haykin, Neural Networks, a comprehensive

foundation. New York: MacMillan College Publishing

Company, 1994.

[6] A. Juan, J. Garc´ýa-Hern´andez, and E. Vidal, “Em

initialisation for bernoulli mixture learning.” in SSPR/SPR

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