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Timing Measurement Platform for Arbitrary Black-Box Circuits Based on Transition Probability

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2 Author(s)
Justin S. J. Wong ; Imperial College London, London, U.K. ; Peter Y. K. Cheung

The key aspects of a good on-chip timing measurement platform are high measurement resolution, accuracy, and low area overhead. A measurement method based on transition probability (TP) has shown promising characteristics in all these areas. In this paper, the TP measurement method is examined through simulation to understand its apparent effectiveness and accuracy in measuring complex circuits. Timing uncertainties and logic glitch activities are considered in detail, and the effect of varying input vectors' probability distributions is analyzed to enable further accuracy improvements. Using a field-programmable gate array, the method is implemented and demonstrated as a modular on-chip test platform for testing complex arbitrary circuits. Practical circuits found in typical modular designs, including fixed/floating-point arithmetic and filter circuits, are chosen to evaluate the test platform. The resolution of the timing measurements ranges from 0.3 to 8.0 ps, and the measurement errors against reference measurements are found to be within 3.6%. The test platform can be applied to VLSI designs with minor area overhead, and provides designers with precise and accurate physical timing information of circuits.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 12 )