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Satisfiability-based test generation for nonseparable RTL controller-datapath circuits

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3 Author(s)
Lingappan, L. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Princeton Univ., NJ, USA ; Ravi, S. ; Jha, N.K.

In this paper, we present a satisfiability (SAT)-based algorithm for automatically generating test sequences that target gate-level stuck-at faults in a circuit by using its register-transfer level (RTL) description. Our methodology uses a unified RTL circuit representation, called assignment-decision diagrams (ADDs), for test analysis. Test generation proceeds by abstracting the components in this unified representation using input/output propagation rules, so that any justification/propagation event can be captured as a Boolean implication. Consequently, we reduce RTL test generation to an SAT instance that has a significantly lower complexity than the equivalent problem at the gate level. Our algorithm is tailored to overcome the disadvantages of several existing RTL precomputed test-set-based approaches, such as the need for an explicit controller/datapath separation, the use of all test vectors or none from the precomputed test set for any given module, a dependence on symbolic justification (observability) paths from (to) circuit inputs (outputs) for a module, and a lack of applicability to mixed gate-level/RTL designs. Using the state-of-the-art SAT solver Zchaff, we show that our RTL test generator can outperform gate-level sequential automatic test-pattern generation (ATPG), in terms of both fault coverage and test-generation time (two-to-three orders of magnitude speedup), in comparable test-application times. Furthermore, we show that in a bilevel testing scenario, in which RTL ATPG is followed by gate-level sequential ATPG on the remaining faults, we improve the fault coverage even further, while maintaining a high speedup in test-generation time (nearly 32×) over pure gate-level sequential ATPG, at comparable test-application times.

Published in:

Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:25 ,  Issue: 3 )

Date of Publication:

March 2006

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