FAE: Autoencoder-Based Failure Binning of RTL Designs for Verification and Debugging

Cheng Hsien Shen, Aaron C.W. Liang, Charles C.H. Hsu, Charles H.P. Wen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


As the Register Transfer Level (RTL) designs are more complicated, debugging becomes a major bottleneck in the design process. To make debugging more efficient, failure binning aims at grouping failure traces caused by the same error source together so that designers can focus on one bug at one time. However, as there are multiple bugs in a design, behaviors exhibited by failure traces are diverse and severely confuse designers. One error source may result in different appearances subject to different activation conditions. In addition, different error sources may also exhibit similar appearances among the limited number of failure traces. In this work, we propose an autoencoder-based failure binning engine name FAE for debugging RTL designs more efficiently. The autoencoders extract meaningful representations from the sparse and high-dimensional feature space to the latent space with good properties for clustering. Superior to prior works, FAE provides confidence ranks between bins and in a bin to clearly guide designers during debugging. Experimental results show that FAE can drive bins of higher purity under an acceptable number of bins than prior works, dropping only few less-informative failures. Evaluated by three common metrics for clustering, FAE also achieves averagely 13.1% improvement in purity, 25.0% improvement in NMI and 18.2% improvement in ARI, respectively. As a result, the proposed autoencoder-based engine, FAE, applies machine learning to extract useful information from diverse failure traces and is effective on failure binning with more focused debugging.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 IEEE International Test Conference, ITC 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781728148236
ISBN (Print)9781728148243
StatePublished - 9 Nov 2019
Event2019 IEEE International Test Conference, ITC 2019 - Washington, United States
Duration: 9 Nov 201915 Nov 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Test Conference
ISSN (Print)1089-3539
ISSN (Electronic)2378-2250


Conference2019 IEEE International Test Conference, ITC 2019
CountryUnited States


  • Autoencoder
  • Debug
  • Failure binning
  • Latent space
  • Machine learning
  • Register Transfer Level (RTL)

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