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FPGA emulation for critical-path coverage analysis

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Title: FPGA emulation for critical-path coverage analysis
Author: Balston, Kyle
Degree Master of Applied Science - MASc
Program Electrical and Computer Engineering
Copyright Date: 2012
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2012-10-17
Abstract: A major task in post-silicon validation is timing validation: it can be incredibly difficult to ensure a new chip meets timing goals. Post-silicon validation is the first opportunity to check timing with real silicon under actual operating conditions and workloads. However, post-silicon tests suffer from low observability, making it difficult to properly quantify test quality for the long-running random and directed system-level tests that are typical in post-silicon. In this thesis, we propose a technique for measuring the quality of long-running system-level tests used for timing coverage through the use of on-chip path monitors to be used with FPGA emulation. We demonstrate our technique on a non-trivial SoC, measuring the coverage of 2048 paths (selected as most critical by static timing analysis) achieved by some pre-silicon system-level tests, a number of well-known benchmarks, booting Linux, and executing randomly generated programs. The results show that the technique is feasible, with area and timing overheads acceptable for pre-silicon FPGA emulation.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/43426
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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