TITLE: On Teaching Circuit Reliability

AUTHORS: Azam Beg and W. Ibrahim

PUBLICATION/VENUE: 38th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE'08), Oct 2008, pp. T3H12-T3H17.


Integrated circuits in the coming years are expected to be based on nano-scaled devices, such as single electron transistors, self-assembled DNA, carbon nano-tubes, and resonant tunnel diodes. Future designs based on such nano-devices will exhibit high integration densities, and might be either low power or fast switching but not both. Unfortunately, nano-devices suffer heavily from fabrication inconsistencies, and transient and permanent failures due to external causes. Therefore, circuit reliability will have to be added to the design space currently consisting of timing, area, and power. This also means that the reliability calculation/estimation could soon be an important topic in the undergraduate/graduate courses on circuit design. Probability transfer matrix numerical method has been used as an exact way to calculate the reliability of a circuit. Traditionally, the matrices are created manually, making the process tedious, time-consuming, and errorprone. This paper proposes an automatic tool (AutoPTMate ) for generating ready-to-use MATLAB mfiles for calculating the circuit’s reliability. The tool allows users to significantly speed-up the reliability assessment of a large number of circuits. The first potential users of such a tool are members of academia and R&D community.


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