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Embedded processor testing techniques based on the execution of self-test programs have been recently proposed as an effective alternative to classic external tester-based testing and pure hardware built-in self-test (BIST) approaches. Software-based self-testing is a nonintrusive testing approach and provides at-speed testing capability without any hardware or-performance overheads. In this paper, we first present a high-level, functional component-oriented, software-based self-testing methodology for embedded processors. The proposed methodology aims at high structural fault coverage with low test development and test application cost. Then, we validate the effectiveness of the proposed methodology as a low-cost alternative over structural software-based self-testing methodologies based on automatic test pattern generation and pseudorandom testing. Finally, we demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed methodology by completely applying it on two different processor implementations of a popular RISC instruction set architecture including several gate-level implementations.
Date of Publication: April 2005