IC Test: Doing It At The Right Place At The Right Time


In the real world, we are slaves to our environment. The decisions we make are dependent on the resources available at any given time. In school, I remember coming up with a binary decision diagram (BDD) variable-ordering algorithm that relied on partial BDDs. Was that the best algorithm to determine the variable ordering of a BDD for a design? Probably not. However, it was easy to do as a coll... » read more

The Problem With Post-Silicon Debug


Semiconductor engineers traditionally have focused on trying to create 'perfect' GDSII at tape-out, but factors such as hardware-software interactions, increasingly heterogeneous designs, and the introduction of AI are forcing companies to rethink that approach. In the past, chipmakers typically banked on longer product cycles and multiple iterations of silicon to identify problems. This no ... » read more

Unified Compression and LBIST in a Physically Aware Environment


Unified compression is a new approach that unifies scan compression and logic built-in self-test (LBIST). It leverages recent innovations from Cadence in physically-aware design for test (DFT) to solve routing congestion and area issues from traditional discrete approaches and delivers a confident path to high-quality test. On a sample design, area savings of 35–47%, and scan wirelength savin... » read more

Why Analog Designs Fail


The gap between analog and digital reliability is growing, and digital designs appear to be winning. Reports show that analog content causes the most test failures and contributes significantly more than digital to field returns. The causes aren't always obvious, though. Some of it is due to the maturity of analog design and verification. While great strides have been made in digital circuit... » read more

AI In Chip Manufacturing


Ira Leventhal, New Concept Product Initiative vice president at Advantest, talks with Semiconductor Engineering about using analysis and deep learning to make test more efficient and more effective. https://youtu.be/3VVG4JVnjHo » read more

ATE Lab To Fab


Shu Li, business development manager at Advantest, zeroes in on the communication gap between engineers on the design side and the manufacturing/test side, why it exists, and what needs to be done to bridge that gap in order to speed up and improve test quality. https://youtu.be/Nd-5_twbJBw     See other tech talk videos here » read more

Why Test Costs Will Increase


The economics of test are under siege. Long seen as a necessary but rather mundane step in ensuring chip quality, or a way of testing circuitry from the inside while it is still in use, manufacturers and design teams have paid little attention to this part of the design-through-manufacturing flow. But problems have been building for some time in three separate areas, and they could have a b... » read more

Lab-To-Fab Testing


Test equipment vendors are working on integrating testing and simulation in the lab with testing done later in the fab, setting the stage for what potentially could be the most significant change in semiconductor test in years. If they are successful, this could greatly simplify design for test, which has become increasingly difficult as chips get more complex, denser, and as more heterogene... » read more

The Race To Zero Defects


By Jeff Dorsch and Ed Sperling Testing chips is becoming more difficult, more time-consuming, and much more critical—particularly as these chips end up in cars, industrial automation, and a variety of edge devices. Now the question is how to provide enough test coverage to ensure that chips will work as expected without slowing down the manufacturing process or driving up costs. Balanci... » read more

Digital IC Bring-Up With A Bench-Top Environment


One of the hottest markets for IC today is artificial intelligence (AI). The designs for AI chips are also among the largest and most complex, with billions of transistors, thousands of memory instances, and complex design-for-test (DFT) implementations with unique bring up and debug requirements. At this point, the volume of new AI chips is relatively low, but time-to-market is of paramount im... » read more

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