Knowledge-Driven Board-Level Functional Fault Diagnosis

Thumbnail Image




Chakrabarty, Krishnendu

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



The semiconductor industry continues to relentlessly advance silicon technology scaling into the deep-submicron (DSM) era. High integration levels and structured design methods enable complex systems that can be manufactured in high volume. However, due to increasing integration densities and high operating speeds, subtle manifestation of defects leads to functional failures at the board level. Functional fault diagnosis is, therefore, necessary for board-level product qualification. However, ambiguous diagnosis results can lead to long debug times and wrong repair actions, which significantly increase repair cost and adversely impact yield.

A state-of-the-art diagnosis system involves several key components: (1) design of functional test programs, (2) collection of functional-failure syndromes, (3) building of the diagnosis engine, (4) isolation of root causes, and (5) evaluation of the diagnosis engine. Advances in each of these components can pave the way for a more effective diagnosis system, thus improving diagnosis accuracy and reducing diagnosis time. Machine-learning techniques offer an unprecedented opportunity to develop an automated and adaptive diagnosis system to increase diagnosis accuracy and speed. This dissertation targets all the above components of an advanced diagnosis system by leveraging various machine-learning techniques.

This thesis first describes a diagnosis system based on support-vector machines (SVMs), multi-kernel SVMs (MK-SVMs) and incremental learning. The MK-SVM method leverages a linear combination of single kernels to achieve accurate root-cause isolation. The MK-SVMs thus generated also can be updated based on incremental learning. Furthermore, a data-fusion technique, namely majority-weighted voting, is used to leverage multiple learning techniques for diagnosis.

The diagnosis time is considerable for complex boards due to the large number of syndromes that must be used to ensure diagnostic accuracy. Syndrome collection and analysis are major bottlenecks in state-of-the-art diagnosis procedures. Therefore, this thesis describes an adaptive diagnosis method based on decision trees (DT). The number of syndromes required for diagnosis can be significantly reduced compared to the number of syndromes used for system training. Furthermore, an incremental version of DTs is used to facilitate online learning, so as to bridge the knowledge obtained at test-design stage with the knowledge gained during volume production.

This dissertation also includes an evaluation and enhancement framework based on information theory for guiding diagnosis systems using syndrome and root-cause analysis. Syndrome analysis based on subset selection provides a representative set of syndromes. Root-cause analysis measures the discriminative ability of differentiating a given root cause from others. The metrics obtained from the proposed framework can provide guidelines for test redesign to enhance diagnosis. In addition, traditional diagnosis systems fail to provide appropriate repair suggestions when the diagnostic logs are fragmented and some syndromes are not available. The feature of handling missing syndromes based on imputation methods has therefore been added to the diagnosis system.

Finally, to tackle the bottleneck of data acquisition during the initial product ramp-up phase, a knowledge-discovery method and a knowledge-transfer method are proposed for enriching the training data set, thus facilitating board-level functional fault diagnosis. In summary, this dissertation targets the realization of an automated diagnosis system with the features of high accuracy, low diagnosis time, self-evaluation, self-learning, and ability of selective learning from other diagnosis systems. Machine learning and information-theoretic techniques have been adopted to enable the above-listed features. The proposed diagnosis system is expected to contribute to quality assurance, accelerated product release, and manufacturing-cost reduction in the semiconductor industry.





Ye, Fangming (2014). Knowledge-Driven Board-Level Functional Fault Diagnosis. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.