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Parag K. Lala's Book on Fault Tolerant and Fault Testable Hardware Design: A Classic Reference for Hardware Engineers


Fault Tolerant and Fault Testable Hardware Design: A Book Review




In this article, I will review the book Fault Tolerant and Fault Testable Hardware Design by Parag K. Lala, published by Prentice-Hall in 1985. This book is one of the classic references on the topic of designing reliable and testable hardware systems. I will summarize the main contents of the book, evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, and compare it with other books on the same topic.




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Introduction




Hardware design is a challenging task that requires not only creativity and technical skills, but also attention to quality and reliability. Hardware systems are prone to failures due to various causes, such as manufacturing defects, environmental conditions, aging effects, or external disturbances. These failures can result in incorrect or unpredictable behavior of the system, which can have serious consequences for safety, performance, or functionality.


What is fault tolerance and fault testing?




Fault tolerance and fault testing are two complementary techniques that aim to ensure the reliability and quality of hardware systems. Fault tolerance refers to the ability of a system to continue operating correctly or acceptably in the presence of faults. Fault testing refers to the process of detecting and locating faults in a system before they cause failures.


Why are they important for hardware design?




Fault tolerance and fault testing are important for hardware design because they can reduce the cost and risk of failures, increase the availability and performance of the system, and improve customer satisfaction and confidence. Fault tolerance can also enable new applications and features that require high reliability, such as aerospace, medical, or military systems. Fault testing can also facilitate debugging, maintenance, and repair of the system.


What are the main topics covered in the book?




The book Fault Tolerant and Fault Testable Hardware Design by Parag K. Lala covers three main topics related to fault tolerance and fault testing: fault tolerance techniques, fault testing techniques, and fault diagnosis techniques. Each topic is discussed in a separate chapter, with examples, exercises, and references. The book also provides an introduction to basic concepts and terminology of fault tolerance and fault testing.


Book Summary




In this section, I will summarize the main contents of each chapter of the book.


Chapter 1: Fault Tolerance Techniques




This chapter introduces various techniques for designing fault tolerant hardware systems. The author categorizes these techniques into three types: redundancy, self-checking circuits, and error-correcting codes.


Redundancy




Redundancy is the most common technique for achieving fault tolerance. It involves adding extra components or resources to the system, such as spare units, parallel paths, or backup systems, to compensate for the failure of some components. The author describes different types of redundancy, such as hardware, software, information, or time redundancy, and their advantages and disadvantages.


Self-checking circuits




Self-checking circuits are circuits that can detect their own faults and signal an error to the system. The author explains the principles and design methods of self-checking circuits, such as parity checkers, Berger codes, duplication with comparison, and totally self-checking circuits. The author also discusses the limitations and challenges of self-checking circuits, such as fault coverage, fault latency, and fault propagation.


Error-correcting codes




Error-correcting codes are codes that can not only detect but also correct errors in the data transmitted or stored by the system. The author introduces the basic concepts and properties of error-correcting codes, such as Hamming distance, minimum distance, and code rate. The author also presents some examples of error-correcting codes, such as Hamming codes, cyclic codes, and Bose-Chaudhuri-Hocquenghem (BCH) codes.


Chapter 2: Fault Testing Techniques




This chapter presents various techniques for testing hardware systems for faults. The author divides these techniques into three categories: fault models, test generation methods, and design for testability.


Fault models




Fault models are abstract representations of the possible faults that can occur in a hardware system. The author explains the importance and criteria of fault models, such as simplicity, accuracy, and generality. The author also describes some common fault models, such as stuck-at faults, bridging faults, delay faults, and transistor faults.


Test generation methods




Test generation methods are algorithms or procedures for generating test patterns or sequences that can detect faults in a hardware system. The author discusses the objectives and challenges of test generation methods, such as fault coverage, test length, test application time, and test generation time. The author also reviews some test generation methods, such as exhaustive testing, random testing, deterministic testing, and heuristic testing.


Design for testability




Design for testability is the process of modifying or enhancing the hardware design to facilitate testing. The author illustrates the benefits and trade-offs of design for testability, such as cost, performance, and complexity. The author also introduces some design for testability techniques, such as scan design, built-in self-test (BIST), boundary scan, and signature analysis.


Chapter 3: Fault Diagnosis Techniques




This chapter explains various techniques for diagnosing faults in hardware systems. The author distinguishes two types of fault diagnosis techniques: fault location methods and fault identification methods.


Fault location methods




Fault location methods are techniques for identifying the faulty components or regions in a hardware system. The author compares different fault location methods, such as single-location methods, multiple-location methods, concurrent methods, and sequential methods. The author also demonstrates some fault location methods, such as syndrome testing, fault dictionary, implication graph, and logic simulation.


Fault identification methods




Fault identification methods are techniques for determining the type or nature of the faults in a hardware system. The author analyzes different fault identification methods, such as single-fault methods, multiple-fault methods, parametric methods, and functional methods. The author also shows some fault identification methods, such as fault simulation, fault equivalence, fault dominance, and fault signature.


Book Evaluation




In this section, I will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the book, and compare it with other books on the same topic.


Strengths of the book




The book has several strengths that make it a valuable reference for students, researchers, and practitioners of hardware design. Some of these strengths are:


  • The book covers a wide range of topics related to fault tolerance and fault testing, from basic concepts to advanced techniques.



  • The book provides a clear and systematic presentation of each topic, with definitions, examples, exercises, and references.



  • The book offers a balanced perspective on the benefits and trade-offs of different techniques, and discusses their applicability and limitations in various scenarios.



  • The book reflects the state-of-the-art knowledge and research on fault tolerance and fault testing at the time of its publication, and includes many original contributions by the author.



Weaknesses of the book




The book also has some weaknesses that limit its usefulness or relevance for modern hardware design. Some of these weaknesses are:


Weaknesses of the book




The book also has some weaknesses that limit its usefulness or relevance for modern hardware design. Some of these weaknesses are:


  • The book is outdated in some aspects, as it was published in 1985 and does not reflect the latest developments and trends in hardware technology and design methods.



  • The book is too theoretical and mathematical in some parts, and does not provide enough practical examples or case studies to illustrate the application of the techniques.



  • The book is too focused on digital hardware systems, and does not cover analog or mixed-signal hardware systems, which are also important for many applications.



  • The book is too dense and complex in some sections, and does not provide enough summaries or reviews to help the reader understand and remember the key points.



Comparison with other books on the same topic




There are many other books on the topic of fault tolerance and fault testing in hardware design, such as:


  • Fault-Tolerant Systems by Israel Koren and C. Mani Krishna, published by Morgan Kaufmann in 2007.



  • Digital Systems Testing and Testable Design by Miron Abramovici, Melvin A. Breuer, and Arthur D. Friedman, published by Wiley-IEEE Press in 2010.



  • Fault Diagnosis and Fault Tolerance for Mechatronic Systems by Teresa Escobet, Moamar Sayed-Mouchaweh, and Vicenç Puig, published by Springer in 2018.



These books are more recent and comprehensive than the book by Parag K. Lala, and cover more topics and techniques related to fault tolerance and fault testing. They also provide more practical examples and case studies to demonstrate the techniques. However, they are also more expensive and advanced than the book by Parag K. Lala, and may not be suitable for beginners or students who want to learn the basics of fault tolerance and fault testing.


Conclusion




In conclusion, Fault Tolerant and Fault Testable Hardware Design by Parag K. Lala is a classic book that provides a thorough introduction to the topic of designing reliable and testable hardware systems. The book covers three main topics: fault tolerance techniques, fault testing techniques, and fault diagnosis techniques. The book has several strengths, such as its wide coverage, clear presentation, balanced perspective, and original contributions. The book also has some weaknesses, such as its outdatedness, theoreticalness, digital focus, and complexity. The book can be compared with other books on the same topic, which are more recent and comprehensive, but also more expensive and advanced. The book is recommended for readers who want to learn the fundamentals of fault tolerance and fault testing in hardware design.


FAQs




  • What is the difference between fault tolerance and fault testing?



Fault tolerance is the ability of a system to continue operating correctly or acceptably in the presence of faults. Fault testing is the process of detecting and locating faults in a system before they cause failures.


  • What are some examples of fault tolerant techniques?



Some examples of fault tolerant techniques are redundancy, self-checking circuits, and error-correcting codes.


  • What are some examples of fault testing techniques?



Some examples of fault testing techniques are fault models, test generation methods, and design for testability.


  • What are some examples of fault diagnosis techniques?



Some examples of fault diagnosis techniques are fault location methods and fault identification methods.


  • What are some benefits and trade-offs of fault tolerance and fault testing?



Some benefits of fault tolerance and fault testing are reduced cost and risk of failures, Some benefits of fault tolerance and fault testing are reduced cost and risk of failures, increased availability and performance of the system, and improved customer satisfaction and confidence. Some trade-offs of fault tolerance and fault testing are increased cost and complexity of the design, reduced performance or functionality of the system, and increased testing time or effort. 71b2f0854b


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