IC production teams will generally find ways to accommodate late requests from developers. But a particularly troublesome example is the common request to change the way RF filters are characterized by the production test unit. This entails extensive changes to the test software code. This not only holds up the test process and delays the chip's progress towards tapeout, but it also entails the risk of introducing errors into the test code. With the whole production team often under pressure to expedite the fabrication process, the time required for comprehensive debugging of test code is not always available.
The team at ams has developed a standard test routine that can be used both for characterization and production at the same time. Stored in a test code library, this new routine can facilitate the repeated reuse of a base set of test IP. Check out Peter Sarson and Andreas Wild's article Test & characterize RF filters in IC production: a new approach on EDN.com.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.