Threadmill - overview

Post-silicon validation poses unique challenges that bring-up tools must face, including lack of observability into the design, typical instability of silicon bring-up platforms and absence of supporting software (such as an operating system or debuggers). These challenges together with the need to reach optimal utilization of the expensive, but very fast silicon platforms lead to unique considerations in designing suitable tools. In particular, these include keeping the tool simple and performing most of its operations on platform without interaction with the environment. Based on these considerations, we have developed Threadmill, an IBM post-silicon multi-threaded and multi-processor validation bring-up tool. Threadmill is a bare-metal application that once loaded to the system, continuously generates test-cases, executes them, and checks their results. It is designed to enable a unified functional verification methodology leveraging pre-silicon simulation, acceleration, emulation and actual silicon. Threadmill is a directable tool, controlled through test-templates that are similar to those used by Genesys-Pro . Threadmill was used as part of the POWER7, POWER7+ and POWER8 development process, where it detected numerous hard to hit bugs. It is currently involved in the validation of the next generation processors in IBM.

For details, please contact Vitali Sokhin