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Partitioning circuits for improved testability

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Exhaustive self-testing of combinational circuitry within the framework of the level-sensitive scan design (LSSD) discipline requires that every output node depend on a small number of input nodes. We present here efficient algorithms that take an arbitrary block of combinational logic and add to it the smallest number of bits of new LSSD registers necessary to: (1) partition the logic so that no output depends on more thank inputs, and (2) maintain timing within the block (so that all input-to-output paths encounter the same number of bits of register). Our partitioning algorithms conform to two different design constraints. We also show that the unconstrained partitioning problem is NP-complete.

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A portion of the research of the first and third authors was done while visiting Bell Communications Research. Sandeep Bhatt was also supported in part by NSF Grant DCR 84-05478 and ONR Grant N00014-82-K-0184, and Arnold Rosenberg by NSF Grants MCS-81-01213 and DMC-85-04308. A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the Fourth MIT VLSI Conference on Advanced Research in VLSI.

Communicated by A. S. LaPaugh.

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Bhatt, S.N., Chung, F.R.K. & Rosenberg, A.L. Partitioning circuits for improved testability. Algorithmica 6, 37–48 (1991).

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Key words

  • Circuit testing
  • LSSD
  • Partitioning
  • Dynamic programming
  • NP-completeness