Original Date: 01/23/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Integrated Circuit Failure Analysis Expert System
Failure Analysis engineers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a system to train novice integrated circuit failure analysts without the live mentoring of an experienced analyst. The training tool is an artificial intelligence program called Integrated Circuit Failure Analysis Expert System (ICFAX). Fault analysis of an electronic integrated circuit usually involves disassembly or cutting the device open to look for the physical phenomena that caused the circuit to malfunction. Because the device inside the package is so small, analysis is a very intricate process involving microsurgery and electron microscopes. The process normally requires about five years for an analyst to acquire proficiency at failure analysis and once trained, the analyst is frequently worked to a point where training for other personnel is limited.
ICFAX uses an inference engine to provide interactive reasoning capability and a hypertext help engine to provide supporting text, graphics, and photographs to the user. Almost 100 manyears of expert experience are captured and anticipated in 83 program modules and 8500 rules. In addition to training novice analysts, the system is used as a repository for expert knowledge, allowing experienced users to quickly locate failure analysis information and store useful techniques and information for future analysis.
The system works in a Windows environment on both UNIX and DOS workstations. The program iteratively walks the user through a fault tree, asking questions and displaying graphics and high resolution photographs on the screen to help with each decision. The database contains over 700 pages of help text and 200 megabytes of image data to guide the user through the process.
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