Predicting the Unpredictable in Nanoscale Circuits   Bookmark and Share

The July/August 2007 issue of IEEE Design & Test is devoted to Computer-Aided Design for Emerging Technologies. At the heart of these emerging technologies are nanoscale circuits, which are subject to a greater variety of potentially damaging influences and, at the same time, are increasingly difficult to test because of their non-deterministic behavior. Prof. John Hayes, Prof. Igor Markov, and graduate student Smita Krishnaswamy describe a first-of-a-kind technique to test non-deterministic parameters of such nanocircuits in their article, "Tracking Uncertainty with Probabilistic Logic Circuit Testing."

In conventional circuit test, only permanent manufacturing faults are considered. However, nanocircuits can suffer from more subtle faults that overexpose them to environmental noise and several types of radiation. Therefore, manufacturers will need to test chips for transient output errors caused by these phenomena. Furthermore, high-altitude and high-radiation environments require online testing to continually check that a circuit functions reliably. This alters the goal of testing nanocircuits from detecting specific defects to accurately estimating error probability. Krishnaswamy et al provide a stochastic matrix-based framework for the representation and analysis of circuits with probabilistic faults. For the first time in the literature they propose scenarios for testing standard circuit benchmarks with respect to stochastic phenomena and statistically predicting their behavior.

Note: The complete article can be found on IEEExplore.