Logic Design for Array-Based Circuits

by Donnamaie E. White

Copyright © 1996, 2001, 2002 Donnamaie E. White


Structured Design Methodology

Last Edit July 22, 2001

Fault grading

There are fault grading programs that score the vectors as to per-cent faults covered. There are a number of fault-grading packages appearing on the workstations and on mainframes.

Fault-grading is used to verify that the simulation bit vectors sufficiently exercise nodes within the circuit to assure that the outgoing product matches the customer specification.

If an array vendor does not support a particular package, it is likely that the software will give misleading fault grade scores. Fault grade scores depend on the modeling approach used as well as the vectors themselves. Most fault-graders need a file or support program to reduce errors due to global ground not switching, VCC, VSS or VDD not switching, or a terminated output not switching and other, similar exceptions.

Insufficient fault coverage as determined in a fault grading analysis may require the addition of vectors to the graded set.

Functional simulation vector fault-grading can be performed at AMCC using the LASAR 6 simulator. AMCC looks for scores based on the interconnect nets and not on the internal macro component interconnect links. MSI macro modeling (and whether the macro is hard or soft) will affect fault grade scores. AMCC recommends the creation of enough vectors to achieve a fault coverage of 90% or higher.

simulation stimuli and netlist ----> fault-grader ---> report grade

At-speed simulation

In addition to function simulation, the designer must perform some at-speed verification of circuit operation. One method is to perform a simulation that is executed at the specified maximum frequency of operation of the circuit with timing checks enabled.

At the minimum, these vectors should cover the critical performance paths of the circuit and may cover the entire circuit.

The at-speed simulations are run using Front-Annotation. The Front-Annotation results are not to be considered to be a specification of the final results. The at-speed simulation is re-executed when Back-Annotation files are available.

For conventionally specified array series, at-speed timing analysis is done with the worst-case military or commercial (maximum) and with the minimum library.

At-speed simulations are run with the print on change option for the simulator (print_on_change, -c, list -change, etc.), monitoring the same signals monitored by the functional simulation. Because these are complex to evaluate, they are also performed in the sampled mode. They are run using the maximum library and the minimum library.

Table 2-11 At-Speed Simulations

minimum worst-case maximum worst-case
print_on_change sampled print_on_change

Timing Verifiers - An at-speed option

If they are supported by the array vendor, timing verifiers can be substituted for at-speed simulation. Not all timing verifiers are supported by the array vendors even if the corresponding simulators are supported. (The Valid timing verifier is the only one currently supported by AMCC and then only with certain libraries.) Check with the array vendor.

Verifiers can run min-max analysis against either the maximum or minimum delay library. The min-max spread is the process, temperature, and voltage variation for the library and is about 10-40%, as specified by the vendor. This type of analysis can highlight spikes, ambiguity on clock paths, and marginal timing performance.

Supported and non-supported EWS features

Timing verifiers emphasize the need to communicate clearly with the array vendors. When evaluating an EWS or netlist purchase, consult the intended array vendors for a list of systems and system features that the target libraries support before committing to a design approach. The EWS system may have software for which the vendor has not created models, rendering that software useless without extensive further development.

There is a growing pool of independent workstation tool suppliers. For these packages, the array vendor must also be consulted before assuming that they can be used. Some of them alter the netlist that the vendor may be using as input to the layout system, destroying the circuit interface.

Always refer to allowed equipment and EWS configuration supplied by the target array vendors. Consult with them before starting a purchase or a design.

Create the AC test simulation vectors - Optional

AC tests are optional and may be written to check either propagation path delay in a non-memory path or external set-up and hold time for memory elements. Both rising and falling edges should be checked.

AC test simulations may be concatenated into one simulation file provided clear documentation of start and stop time addresses are provided. Each test (one pair of input-output pads, one edge direction) must initialize the circuit so that the test can be performed, provide the stimuli and run until the effect of the stimuli is seen at the circuit output.

AC test simulations are run using the maximum and then the minimum library. In each case, run once for sampled results and once for print on change.

AMCC performs only path propagation delay AC tests. For older AMCC arrays, there is a limit of 20 tests over 10 paths, with bus lines handled as multiple paths. AMCCVRC is used by AMCC customers to screen AC Test simulation vectors.

Table 2-12 AC-Test Simulations

minimum worst-case maximum worst-case
print_on_change sampled print_on_change

AC Speed Monitor

The AC speed monitor that AMCC built into the Q20000 Series base arrays removes the requirement for customer-generated AC test simulation vectors. This on-chip device will be added to all future arrays.

The basis of the AC monitor is a 9-stage ring oscillator followed by a 2-stage divide by 4 counter. Each stage uses 100 mils of second and third layer metal to evaluate metal loading. The accuracy of the counter is 0.005% up to 100MHz.

The AC speed monitor uses two pads, a power supply pin and the output pad, that are bonded out to external package pins. (See Figure 2-6.)

Figure 2-6 AC Speed Monitor - Q20000 Series Arrays

Parametric testing - Optional

Parametric testing for VIH, VIL is optional. There are several different methods of setting up a parametric simulation. One approach is the use of a parametric gate tree, where all circuit inputs (clocks and set and reset included) are treed by NOR, AND or OR gates (SSI logic) to a single output. The cost is the number of internal cells needed to implement the gate tree, one output and an added load on the primary input signals.

The vectors are the minimal test sequence (100% fault coverage) for that gate tree. A minimal sequence changes one input per vector and the output toggles every vector. Every input is switched from 1-0 and from 0-1, one by one.

The parametric vector set is combined with the functional simulation vector set for fault-grading.

Parametric simulation is run once, using the maximum worst-case library and a sampled output. The vendor may require that the minimum simulation also be run. AMCCVRC can be run to check parametric testing simulations.

Table 2-13 Parametric Simulations

minimum worst-case maximum worst-case
sampled sampled

Copyright @ 2001, 2002 Donnamaie E. White, White Enterprises
For problems or questions on these pages, contact dew@Donnamaie.com