How Software Can Help Redefine Semiconductor Validation

Enabling better collaboration and information-sharing among validation teams.


The rate of technological advancement is increasing faster than ever before. Although the demands for meeting aggressive time-to-market requirements and innovating at warp speed are not new, they are continuing to accelerate. To cut costs without compromising product quality, engineers are now expected to test new designs more rapidly at various stages of development. Even though many organizations have taken steps to optimize their device testing, there is still a significant untapped opportunity to capitalize on by rethinking test strategies.

Semiconductor validation is becoming more challenging

Tapping into the competitive advantages that come with developing a holistic test strategy is no simple feat, especially as semiconductor validation and test become more complex. One of the main challenges is the complexity of the validation process itself. With the continuous advancements in technology, semiconductors are becoming more intricate, incorporating numerous functionalities and features. This complexity poses a significant challenge when having to thoroughly test and verify each aspect of the semiconductor’s functionality.

Another hurdle is the time and cost associated with validation. The validation process can be time-consuming, involving extensive testing, analysis, and debugging. Additionally, the cost of equipment, resources, and skilled personnel adds to the overall expenses. With tight production schedules and fierce market competition, companies are constantly seeking ways to streamline validation to reduce time-to-market and minimize costs. In some cases, this can lead to interoperability and compatibility challenges. Different components and systems from various manufacturers need to work seamlessly together. However, integrating these disparate elements can be a complex and time-consuming task, often requiring custom interfaces and extensive troubleshooting.

Lastly, the need for specialized expertise in validation is also increasing. Validation engineers must possess a deep understanding of the semiconductor’s architecture, design specifications, and industry standards. Acquiring and retaining such specialized talent can be a challenge, especially given the high demand and competitive landscape in the semiconductor industry. While finding and retaining talent is its own challenge, being able to maximize IP resources is an entirely separate battle. Repeatedly, we see that organizations that can leverage their teams’ IP and work to establish frameworks to share knowledge across sites are able to reduce their time to market significantly. Although the idea of a complete organizational and process overhaul is often unrealistic, implementing test software in the lab is a far less daunting yet highly effective way to help achieve this.

Unlocking efficiency with standardized software

Standardized software enables better collaboration and information-sharing among validation teams. With a common platform, engineers can easily exchange data, share test cases, and collaborate on projects, leading to improved efficiency and faster validation cycles. This collaborative approach also minimizes errors and reduces the risk of miscommunication, ensuring accurate and reliable validation results.

As more technology companies compete for the biggest market share, individual organizations must leverage their expertise to push the boundaries of innovation. To further streamline workflows, leading organizations are creating training and debugging communities within their broader structure to provide avenues for engineers to share ideas and ask questions. Instead of working in isolation, dedicated groups enable an open channel to facilitate discussion.

Additionally, there’s a significant opportunity to maximize resources beyond teams working to solve the same challenge. Leveraging IP across the different stages of product development is in itself a new frontier. Sharing test procedures and design requirements across bring-up and characterization is one example. In these situations, standardized software aids in laying the groundwork for reliable data collection, enabling seamless data correlation between product phases. This is the first step in enabling smart data analytics across the product lifecycle. During the design, validation, and testing phases, data is gathered every single second. However, it remains extremely underused, hence another massive opportunity enabled by using standardized software.

The bottom line: Software standardization helps turn test into competitive advantage

Having the ability to standardize and reuse test software with existing lab setups can significantly reduce characterization time, improve productivity, and lower costs. Standardizing test approaches across sites and creating code libraries can significantly decrease engineering time, especially in large multinational organizations with labs at various locations. By embracing standardized software solutions, semiconductor companies can overcome challenges and achieve greater efficiency, accuracy, and competitiveness in their validation efforts.

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