Hardware Design Verification Using Signal Transitions and Transactions

Nobuyuki OHBA  Kohji TAKANO  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences   Vol.E89-A   No.4   pp.1012-1017
Publication Date: 2006/04/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1337
DOI: 10.1093/ietfec/e89-a.4.1012
Print ISSN: 0916-8508
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Selected Papers from the 18th Workshop on Circuits and Systems in Karuizawa)
hardware prototyping,  hardware debugging,  logic analyzer,  ASIC,  SoC,  

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Hardware prototyping has been widely used for ASIC/SoC verification. This paper proposes a new hardware design verification method, Transition and Transaction Tracer (TTT), which probes and records the signals of interest for a long time, hours, days, or even weeks, without a break. It compresses the captured data in real time and stores it in a state transition format in memory. Since it records all the transitions, it is effective in finding and fixing errors, even ones that occur rarely or intermittently. It can also be programmed to generate a trigger for a logic analyzer when it detects certain transitions. This is useful for debugging situations where the engineer has trouble finding an appropriate trigger condition to pinpoint the source of errors. We have been using the method in hardware prototyping for ASIC/SoC development for two years and found it useful for system level tests, and in particular for long running tests.