IBM J. Res. Dev

Debugging post-silicon fails in the IBM POWER8 bring-up lab

View publication


Debugging post-silicon fails continues to be a difficult problem that is becoming even more challenging as chips integrate more functionality and implement increasingly complicated functions. Additionally, the complexity of hardware systems, coupled with the difficulty in observing the state of the system that led to the failure, make the debugging effort a unique challenge. In this paper, we review the techniques and mechanisms used to facilitate effective debugging in the POWER8™ processor post-silicon validation phase. We further describe several functional bugs and describe the debugging process that drove the identification of their root cause.