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Loopable Code Enhancement for an ATE Compiler

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000045795D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-07
Document File: 5 page(s) / 60K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Kizis, RE: AUTHOR

Abstract

Due to the limited set of op-codes on Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) testers, high level language compilers for such devices frequently have to perform operations that are normally done on the computer executing the compiled code. In many cases, this results in excessive CPU times for the compilation process. This time cost, plus the high data volume for large RAM (random-access memory) and ROS (read-only storage) modules, can result in prohibitive compilation periods that negate the value of such a system.

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Loopable Code Enhancement for an ATE Compiler

Due to the limited set of op-codes on Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) testers, high level language compilers for such devices frequently have to perform operations that are normally done on the computer executing the compiled code. In many cases, this results in excessive CPU times for the compilation process. This time cost, plus the high data volume for large RAM (random-access memory) and ROS (read-only storage) modules, can result in prohibitive compilation periods that negate the value of such a system.

A. INTRODUCTION: A functional high level language system has proven to be an economical and reliable method to provide test patterns for an ATE system. Properly designed, such a system allows a card or module designer to write a complete set of test patterns in a relatively short period of time. These patterns are written in a compact form that is called loopable data. Simply stated, loopable data consists of a set of test patterns contained within some type of iterative statement that allows the programmer to control the number of times that the test patterns execute. A typical iterative statement is the "DO" statement contained in many high level languages. The test patterns contained in the loop may be constant in that they execute in the same manner on every pass through the loopable data or the patterns may be modified or varied on every pass through the loop.

B. LOOPABLE TEST DATA: An important consideration in designing a compiler to process a high level language designed for an ATE system is the tester on which the generated code will be executed. If the data is being generated for a simple nonbuffered tester, the compiler must perform a significant amount of work on the data before it can be loaded and executed on the tester. If the tester is sophisticated and contains some type of programmable buffer, the compiler can generate loopable op-codes that can be loaded into the buffer and expanded by the tester itself.

The programmable buffer can be thought of as an array containing the test patterns represented in some type of op-code format and corresponding net data that will be applied to the pins of the product each time the op-code is executed. The buffer can operate at high speeds, allowing for functional speed testing of the product. The buffer is loaded at the start of a test and runs uninterrupted until completion of a test or until an error occurs.

An extremely useful capability provided by a programmable buffer is a set of op-codes that allows the tester to loop on a set of given test patterns. This process is called expanding the patterns at the tester. The capability results in reduced test time and data volume.

As mentioned previously, it also reduces the time needed to compile such test data.

C. COMPILER CONSIDERATIONS: The compiler provides the user with the capability to repeat a block of code any number of times by means of "DO" or similar iterative statements...