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Intellitech's NEBULA Speeds Silicon Debug for Synopsys' TetraMAX Users

Network Based Platform Provides Simplified Flow From ATPG to Desktop DFT Validation, Silicon Debug and Diagnosis

DURHAM, N.H.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 8, 2003--Intellitech
Corporation, the technology leader in scan-based configuration, debug
and test solutions today announced the availability of the NEBULA
Silicon Debugger(TM). The NEBULA speeds test vector debug time from
weeks to less than a half of a day through its direct knowledge of on
chip Design-for-Test structures and integrated use of Synopsys
TetraMAX(R) ATPG patterns and diagnostics. The NEBULA enables remote
testing of prototype silicon for stuck-at faults, path-delay faults,
at-speed BIST and in-situ functional debug. Failures can be quickly
isolated to the gate and net level with the integrated access to the
TetraMAX fault-simulation database for lookup of ATPG faults. The
NEBULA acronym is loosely translated as Network Based debug and Logic
Analysis since the debug and validation platform is remotely
accessible by design and test engineers over a wide area network.
    With increased circuit complexity and advanced packaging (at both
the chip and system levels) silicon debug has become more difficult
and more time consuming. Physical access and visibility into the
design during debug is significantly reduced, making traditional
unstructured debug methods less productive. A recent study by Gartner
Dataquest indicates that the design time of a large ASIC takes between
nine and 12 months. In the same study, it was shown that the typical
silicon debug time is about two-thirds that. While it has always been
obvious to try to shrink the design cycle to achieve time-to-volume
gains, it has been less obvious that similar gains in time-to-volume
can be achieved by shrinking the silicon debug times.
    "Silicon debug continues to be a growing segment of the test and
validation market," said CJ Clark, Intellitech's chief executive
officer. "We helped pioneer silicon debug back in 1996 with our first
generation product, the RCT platform. NEBULA will help designers to
meet critical time-to-volume windows by enabling early structural
test, vector validation, IC characterization, gate level failure
analysis, in addition to enabling full-speed functional debug."
    Key to shortening the silicon debug cycle is the 'smart tester'
architecture of NEBULA. It understands the difference between serial
scan test data and parallel pin test data allowing the engineer to
debug using functional elements of the design rather than counting
'bits' from tester channel results. The architecture and scripting
language enables complex decision-making during execution of test
programs that is not possible with memory-behind-pin tester
architectures. For instance, NEBULA can apply test patterns and based
on the failure that occurs, program an on-chip non-volatile memory
with data to disable the faulty area and enable a redundant logic
area. The NEBULA platform also understands the DFT infrastructure
inserted by Synopsys tools, which is a departure from traditional
memory-behind-pin DFT focused platforms and 'big iron' ATE. The NEBULA
Silicon Debugger takes advantage of the DFT infrastructures such as
internal muxed flip-flop scan, IEEE 1149.1 or LSSD inserted by
Synopsys DFT Compiler and BSD Compiler. The direct knowledge of the
test structures inserted by these DFT tools plus an understanding of
how to interpret the ATPG patterns generated by TetraMAX reduces many
of the variables confronting the engineer during first silicon debug.
The NEBULA also incorporates a special "Test Diagnostics Server" which
enables bidirectional communication with a user's TetraMAX diagnostics
license. This enables gate and net level diagnostics for TetraMAX
based tests running on remote NEBULAs and windows based PCs. NEBULA is
the result of Intellitech's membership in Synopsys' in-Sync(R)
interoperability program, through which Synopsys works with tool
providers to maximize the productivity of mutual customers.

    In-situ Debug

    The NEBULA Silicon Debugger interfaces to an IC using standard
test protocols, such as muxed scan, LSSD (Level Sensitive Scan Design)
or IEEE Std. 1149.1. The NEBULA Silicon Debugger uses a very low pin
count access method that enables in-situ access to prototype silicon,
that is, the IC can be on a PCB or in the system while debug is
performed. Even though test patterns are developed for production
tests with full pin contact, NEBULA will interpret and exercise the
patterns differently for the in-situ environment without vector
translation. In-situ debug is especially useful since custom DUT cards
are not needed, and debug can be performed on early FCS and prototype
parts without the removal of the silicon from the PCB. This is a major
departure from traditional low-cost DFT focused debug platforms, which
require full pin access and cannot support the re-use of test patterns
and debug scripts throughout the design hierarchy. Time and
development costs can be reduced since design engineers can re-use
test patterns and scripts in various different debug and validation
    The NEBULA Silicon Debugger platform provides built-in software
support for external instruments, such as power supplies, frequency
generators, RF signal generators and thermal chambers, that are needed
for test, debug and characterization. Industry standard
instrumentation, such as PXI, VXI and GPIB instruments, are readily
supported through the VISA (Virtual Instrumentation Software
Architecture) and IEEE-488 Instrument interfaces. These instruments
can be controlled with the built-in capabilities of NEBULA, which
provide scripting and interactive GUIs, or alternately through user
defined scripts and GUIs. VISA support provides an 'open architecture'
for users to add instruments and digital I/O as they need. It enables
the NEBULA Silicon Debugger platform to provide broad plug and play
capabilities, allowing design and test engineers to develop
interoperable, multi-vendor, solutions that are reusable from project
to project. More information can be found at

    Pricing and Availability

    The NEBULA Silicon Debugger is available now from stock, starting
at approximately $50K for desktop hardware and a floating license.
Contact Intellitech at for various options.

    Intellitech is a registered trademark of Intellitech Corp. NEBULA
Silicon Debugger is a trademark of Intellitech Corp. Synopsys,
TetraMAX and in-Sync are registered trademarks of Synopsys, Inc. DFT
Compiler is a trademark of Synopsys, Inc. All other trademarks or
registered trademarks mentioned in this release are the intellectual
property of their respective owners.


    CONTACT: Intellitech Corporation
             Kareen Lefoley, 603-868-7116 x106