Skip to Main Content
Software-based or instruction-based self-testing has recently emerged as an effective alternative for the manufacturing and online testing of microprocessors, and is progressively adopted by major microprocessor manufacturers mainly as a supplement to other mature and well-established testing approaches to reach higher test quality. Thus far, software-based self-test approaches presented in the literature have focused almost exclusively on uniprocessors. With the continuing prevalence of multiprocessors, the focus of such research approaches moves from the uniprocessor to the multiprocessor case. In this paper, we study the application of software-based self-testing on symmetric shared-memory multiprocessors (SMP) considering the most common interconnection architectures, shared bus and crossbar switch. We focus on the impact of the shared-memory system architecture, the cache coherence mechanisms, and the interconnection architecture on the execution time of self-test programs running on each separate core and exploit the SMP's parallelism during testing to reduce the test execution time. We propose a generic methodology that allocates the test programs and test responses into the shared on-chip memory and schedules the test routines among the cores aiming at the reduction of the total test application time, and thus, test cost, for the SMP, by increasing the execution parallelism and reducing both bus contentions and data cache invalidations. We demonstrate the proposed solutions with detailed experiments on several two-core, four-core, and eight-core SMP benchmarks based on a popular RISC benchmark processor using both the shared bus and the crossbar switch interconnection architectures.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2009