New Software Speeds Chip Debugging

Loraine Lawson

No doubt you regularly patch for software bugs, but how often do you check for bug fixes on your computer's chips?


Not often? Yeah, me neither.


According to this Technology Review article, Intel's Web site lists about 130 known hardware bugs on commercial laptops. You can download software to fix most of the bugs, but about 20 aren't fixable, according to the article.


As chips are becoming smaller, more bugs and wiring errors are cropping up. This is significant because, not only do some of these bugs make it to market, but finding and fixing bugs also causes significant delays in the chip development cycle. These bugs also affect microprocessors.


But researchers at the University of Michigan have developed software that can fix bugs in much less time, reducing parts of the process from days to hours, according to this University of Michigan press release. The solution, called Fogclear, is a CAD tool that uses puzzle-solving algorithms and can identify quick fixes in the blueprint that elude engineers. The software can automatically repair about 70 percent of major silicon bugs, reports Technology Review.

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