SPIE Microlithography Conference, Day 1 (Monday)

Candidate for Worst Paper Award
This conference is full of good papers. But it is also full of bad ones. There are the marketing papers, really just sales pitches for some product where their fear of giving too much information to the competitors outweighs their desire to inform their customers – or maybe they really don’t have any information to give. Then there are the authors that ran out of time, the experiments didn’t get finished, and so at most we get to see intermediate results (OK, I am guilty of having done that a time or two myself). Some presenters are just plain bad (but I admire anyone with the guts to get up there and try just the same). But today I saw the worst of the worst. I guy gave a paper on CD variations without showing a single CD value! How could this happen, you ask? He had 20 graphs showing squares, circles, and dots connected by wavering lines spread across the page, but not a single y-axis had a number on it. It is obvious what happened. His management made him erase all the numbers. Maybe they thought their stock price would go down if the world realized they were making chips that included CD variations. In any case, we saw an entire paper based solely on the analysis of data but without any data. It shouldn’t have been given. My advice to all would-be authors: If your bone-head manager will let you give a paper only if you don’t show any data, pull the paper. Our time is too valuable to listen to nothing.

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