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Application of Bayesian Networks to Coverage Directed Test Generation for the Verification of Digital Hardware Designs

Vance, Jeffery S (2010) Application of Bayesian Networks to Coverage Directed Test Generation for the Verification of Digital Hardware Designs. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Functional verification is generally regarded as the most critical phase in the successful development of digital integrated circuits. The increasing complexity and size of chip designs make it more challenging to find bugs and meet test coverage goals in time for market demands. These challenges have led to more automated methods of simulation with constrained random test generation and coverage analysis. Recent goals in industry have focused on improving the process further by applying Coverage Directed Test Generation (CDG) to automate the feedback from coverage analysis to test input generation. Previous research has presented Bayesian networks as a way to achieve CDG. Bayesian networks provide a means of capturing behaviors of a design under verification and making predictions to help guide test input generation to reach coverage goals more quickly. Previous research has shown methods for defining a Bayesian network for a design domain and generating input parameters for dynamic simulation. This thesis demonstrates that existing commercial verification tools can be combined with a Bayesian inference engine as a feasible solution for creating a fully automated CDG environment. This solution is demonstrated using methods from previous research for applying Bayesian networks to verification. The CDG framework was implemented by combining the Questa verification platform with the Bayesian inference engine SMILE (Structural Modeling, Inference, and Learning Engine) in a single simulation environment. SystemVerilog testbenches and custom software were created to automatically find coverage holes, predict test input parameters, and dynamically change these parameters to complete verification with a fewer number of test cases. The CDG framework was demonstrated by performing verification on both a combinational logic design and a sequential logic design. The results show that Bayesian networks can be successfully used to improve the efficiency and quality of the verification process.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Vance, Jeffery
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLevitan, Steven Plevitan@pitt.eduLEVITAN
Committee MemberCheng, Allen Cacc33@pitt.eduACC33
Committee MemberYang, Junjuy9@pitt.eduJUY9
Date: 25 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 9 December 2009
Approval Date: 25 June 2010
Submission Date: 10 December 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Electrical Engineering
Degree: MSEE - Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bayesian inference; Functional Coverage; Functional Verification
Other ID:, etd-12102009-120136
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:10
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:54


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