As system-on-a-chip (SoC) design and fabrication have moved to smaller lithographic geometries and higher integration complexities, the pre-silicon phase of design implementation has seen marked improvements in efficiency and throughput. However, the cost and timesaving benefits of design automation are rapidly eroded in the post-silicon phase. Even if the design is “perfect,” silicon validation is still required to prove that the chip works correctly at speed and in system under different operating conditions. And debugging is necessary whenever the design turns out to be not entirely flawless.

This paper discusses the why in-system validation and debug are more important than ever for today’s SoC designs and outlines the challenges of performing these operations. It also introduces DAFCA’s patented, silicon-proven technology, which provides a new, comprehensive approach to in-system silicon validation and debug.