University of Michigan researchers developed a new software that can find loopholes in the chip, and make the best repair method. This technology such as AMD and Intel chip maker is undoubtedly great news, because as the shrinking of transistors and chip design complexity, hardware defects more common. The product before mass production, the general need to spend a year on the prototype chip debugging. Now, the emergence of this new software, a prototype chip by reducing the number of test chips and test cycles to reduce time to market, reduce costs, but also to finally enter the market of chips more reliable.
The Cove professor and his colleagues developed the software, chip makers may return to the first round of prototype chips, bug fixes problem to solve. Prototype of a new chip design is complete, and will not immediately face the consumer. Engineers need to run the chip operating system and various software to detect whether they work properly. This process may take one or two hours spent, it could be a week, depending on the number of defective chips.
Although engineers can sometimes identify a vulnerability, this vulnerability may be too close or transistor circuit arrangement in the wrong location of any problems, but they are often not clear what is the best repair method. In many cases, engineers found in a test and fix a flaw, but in the next round of testing methods found in the previous repair had inadvertently created new vulnerabilities. And a prototype chip production to take several months, usually very expensive, light housings designed to re-arrange to change the emission pattern of transistors and wires on the chip, the cost as high as several million dollars.
Researchers explained that the current chip back to a prototype chip manufacturer, engineers to hook to the electronic probe, the electronic probe to electrical signals sent to the chip and record its output. Different signal to reach different parts of the chip, after testing thousands of signals, engineers can usually locate a loophole in the. They then proposed a series of possible solutions. Sometimes, they may simply remove the chip, the connection between the top two wires. This use of the existing laboratory equipment can be done, so the chip can be quickly re-test. But sometimes, may need to repair the lower layers in the chip, such as the transistor gate formed in the area of these transistors to adjust and re-testing will not be so easy.
University of Michigan researchers have written software will automatically calibrate test chip power input, and analyze the output to identify problem areas. Ideally, engineers would want to know every chip output transistor. Consumer chip soon, but will have more than 100 million transistor, which makes accurate testing method that is too time consuming. Therefore, the University of Michigan’s algorithm only test chip most of the region’s electrical input. Corresponds to the output error, can know what the test focus area, thus narrowing the search scope to more quickly find possible loopholes. The software is also used in a similar manner to the restoration of the loopholes, through a series of simulator runs to find a design change to provide the fastest and most cost-effective solution.
One of the biggest advantage of this technology is the software can sometimes provide an unexpected solution. On an engineer, the restoration of the logical flaw is to give the circuit re-wiring. However, software engineers can suggest, perhaps crossing a wire can only reverse get the same results, but this solution is not obvious. In the case study, the researchers found that the software can automatically fix about 70% of the chip major loopholes, but also to find a specific vulnerability to shorten the time from weeks to days.
Carnegie Mellon University professor of electrical and computer engineering said silicon debug has been a problem to be solved, and in this regard is almost no scientific literature. Intel may have some advanced debugging techniques, but they never mention. Current methods are generally known to use manual debugging, automation is not high. The hand-debug will leave room for large errors. Including microprocessors, including almost all of the chips are loopholes. Intel Corporation’s Web site, lists some 130 business notebook PC hardware known vulnerabilities. Although most of the flaws can be fixed by downloading the software, but there are some 20 holes can not repair the software method, which makes computer risk of being subjected to virus attacks. SABUNG AYAM