New Techniques and Tools for Application-Dependent Testing of FPGA-Based Components


Field programmable gate array (FPGA) devices are increasingly being deployed in industrial environments, making reconfigurable hardware testing and reliability an active area of investigation. While FPGA devices can be tested exhaustively, the so-called application-dependent test (ADT) has emerged as an effective approach ensuring reduced testing efforts and improving the manufacturing yield since it can selectively exclude a subset of faults not affecting a given design. In addition to manufacturing, ADT can be used online, providing a solution for fast runtime fault detection and diagnostics. This paper identifies a number of issues in existing ADT techniques which limit their applicability and proposes new approaches improving the range of covered faults, with special emphasis on feedback bridging faults, as well as new algorithms for generating ADT test configurations. Furthermore, the work introduces a software environment addressing the current lack of tools, either academic or commercial, supporting ADT techniques. The architecture of the environment is highly modular and extensively based on a plug-in approach. To demonstrate the potential of the toolset, we developed a complete suite of plug-ins, based on both state-of-the-art ADT techniques and the novel approaches introduced here. The experimental results presented at the end of the paper confirm the impact of the proposed techniques.