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Historically, physical design characterization (PDC) has been the focus of product or design engineers. This paper introduces PDC from a manufacturing perspective and the value of design-specific information for successful process control. Several PDC tools are described in terms of this integrated approach and the current embodiment at the IBM Microelectronics Vermont facility. Specifically, these tools include pattern density calculations, critical area extractions, and "swampfinding", a method for locating specific design-process sensitivities. The paper then develops both the technical and business strategies that leverage this information into the manufacturing processes. To clearly illustrate the concepts introduced, several examples of PDC results augmented with traditional characterization information, along with the ensuing manufacturing actions are reviewed. Finally, the larger picture of physical design characterization in manufacturing, and the impact upon development, are further developed.