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Method for a microcode trace debug tool for flash memory programming

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000124294D
Publication Date: 2005-Apr-14
Document File: 3 page(s) / 51K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for a microcode trace debug tool for flash memory programming. Benefits include improved functionality, improved performance, and improved cost effectiveness.

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Method for a microcode trace debug tool for flash memory programming

Disclosed is a method for a microcode trace debug tool for flash memory programming. Benefits include improved functionality, improved performance, and improved cost effectiveness.

Background

              Flash is a non-volatile memory that uses a floating-gate transistor to store and retrieve data. Flash memory is extensively used in wireless devices, set-top boxes, and various other applications where data must be saved and accessed. The primary operations that can be performed on a flash memory device are programming or writing data into the device, erasing, and reading. Some program and erase operations are executed using a sequence of micro-instructions on a microcontroller.

              To debug code with errors, a number of test versions of the code are written that are based on estimates of where errors could have occurred. This process requires many hours to isolate a failing branch or a failing instruction.

              The decreasing size of flash memory cells and the introduction of multi-level cell (MLC) programming, in addition to pseudo single-bit per cell (PSBC) programming, have made the program and erase algorithms more complicated. As a result, an exponential increase has occurred in the number of branches and loops in microcode. Additionally, the complexity of validating the code has increased. Presilicon validation can be accomplished by using commercially available simulation tools. However, a bigger challenge exists in debugging the code in silicon. No conventional method is available.

General description

              The disclosed method includes a microcode debug tool for flash memory that traces program execution. The method provides self-tracking microcode with supporting hardware (see Figure 1).

              The microcontroller executes an instruction in the internal memory device that...