A major cost factor in the manufacture and operation of electronic systems is testing, the process of determining whether defects are present that could lead to erroneous and potentially dangerous behavior. The growing complexity and performance of VLSI circuits have tended to increase the difficulty of testing, for example, by introducing subtle new failure modes and requiring more expensive test equipment. Testing considerations have also become an integral part of the design process under the headings of design for test (DFT) and built-in self-test (BIST). Design and test engineers rely on CAD tools to automate such tasks as test-pattern generation, reliability evaluation, and DFT implementation.|
Michigan researchers have been leaders in testing research for many years, for example, developing some of the first practical techniques for modeling faults in RAM chips and for making RAMs self-testing. Ongoing test research in ACAL is addressing transient (soft) errors, non-deterministic failure modes, very low-cost BIST, fault tolerant design, error recovery in sequential circuits, wireless (non-contact) testing, and related topics.