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Silicon Debug for Timing Errors

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2 Author(s)
Kai Yang ; Novas Software inc., San Jose ; Kwang-Ting Cheng

Due to various sources of noise and process variations, assuring a circuit to operate correctly at its desired operational frequency has become a major challenge. In this paper, we propose a timing-reasoning-based algorithm and an adaptive test-generation algorithm for diagnosing timing errors in the silicon-debug phase. We first derive three metrics that are strongly correlated to the probability of a candidate's being an actual error source. We analyze the problem of circuit timing uncertainties caused by delay variations and test sampling. Then, we propose a candidate-ranking heuristic, which is robust with respect to such sources of timing uncertainty. Based on the initial ranking result and the timing information, we further propose an adaptive path-selection and test-generation algorithm to generate additional diagnostic patterns for further improvement of the first-hit-rate. The experimental results demonstrate that combining the ranking heuristic and the adaptive test-generation method would result in a very high resolution for timing diagnosis.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems  (Volume:26 ,  Issue: 11 )