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In this paper, we present a novel compression method and a low-cost decompression architecture that combine the advantages of both symbol-based and linear-based techniques and offer a very attractive unified solution that removes the barriers of existing test data compression techniques. Besides the traditional goals of high compression and short test application time, the proposed method also offers low shift switching activity and high unmodeled defect coverage at the same time. In addition, it favors multi-site testing as requires a very low pin-count interface to the automatic test equipment. Finally, contrary to existing techniques, it provides an integrated solution for testing multi-core system on chips (SoCs) as it is suitable for cores of both known and unknown structures that usually coexist in SoCs.