The annual pilgrimage to the Mecca of the test and measurement industry is upon us. Designers and test engineers are joining their peers in Santa Clara, Calif., this week. Will they find the "same old, same old" that has kept the International Test Conference going for the past 38 years?
The stepchild of design engineering, test engineering has always been a needed but dreaded task, though the "over-the-wall" mentality has diminished somewhat over the years. Now, there's less "we'll design it and throw it over the wall to the test engineers." The 39th ITC technical program is about making the two disciplines act in unison. That's because both designers and test engineers have become crucial players in a virtual global supply chain comprising thousands of suppliers and thousands of customers.
Mike Lydon, Cisco Systems' vice president, technology and quality, global supply chain management, will describe this totally Internet-based virtual supply chain in a keynote. He will highlight the challenges of making it work and discuss how test, and the data produced by test, can either enable or disrupt this virtual supply chain. Good communication in the virtual supply chain enables test to make real-time, end-to-end adjustments over the product lifecycle. Lydon ought to know: He built Cisco's supply chain and sourcing strategies from the ground up.
Test Week 2008, as the ITC is called, has something for everybody: tutorials on such topics as high-speed interface testing, design-for-manufacturing, silicon debug and diagnosis, statistical screening, delay test, scan compression, failure mechanisms and high-quality test methods for nanometer technologies, analog mixed-signal and RF test, memory test, IEEE Std. 1500, system-in-package test and wafer-probe.
Is that enough to cover the test landscape? We don't think so.
The design/test communion is not just about taking advantage of the Internet and knowing a lot about testing techniques. It's about establishing a different mindset.
An ITC presentation by Jan Rabaey, Donald O. Pederson distinguished professor at the University of California, Berkeley, should shed light on acquiring this new mindset. In his talk, "Computing at the Crossroads (And What Does It Mean to Verification and Test?)," Rabaey will speculate on what the coming decades will bring and forecast some fundamental changes in the computation arena.