Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE)


Electrical Engineering

First Committee Member

Yingtao Jiang

Second Committee Member

Mei Yang

Third Committee Member

Henry Selvaraj

Fourth Committee Member

Evangelos Yfantis

Number of Pages



Simulation times of complex System-on-Chips (SoC) have grown exponentially as designs reach the multi-million ASIC gate range. Verification teams have adopted emulation as a prominent methodology, incorporating high-level testbenches and FPGA/ASIC hardware for system-level testing (SLT). In addition to SLT, emulation enables software teams to incorporate software applications with cycle-accurate hardware early on in the design cycle. The Standard for Co-Emulation Modeling Interface (SCE-MI) developed by the Accelera Initiative, is a widely used communication protocol for emulation which has been accepted by major electronic design automation (EDA) companies.

Scan-chain is a design-for-test (DFT) methodology used for testing digital circuits. To allow more controllability and observability of the system, design registers are transformed into scan registers, allowing verification teams to shift in test vectors and observe the behavior of combinatorial logic. As SoC complexity increases, thousands of registers can be used in a design, which makes it difficult to implement full-scan testing. More so, as the complexity of the scan algorithm is dependent on the number of design registers, large SoC scan designs can no longer be verified in RTL simulation unless portioned into smaller sub-blocks. To complete a full scan cycle in RTL simulation for large system-level designs, it may take hours, days, or even weeks depending on the complexity of the circuit.

This thesis proposes a methodology to decrease scan-chain verification time utilizing SCE-MI protocol and an FPGA-based emulation platform. A high-level (SystemC) testbench and FPGA synthesizable hardware transactor models are developed for the ISCAS89 S400 benchmark circuit for high-speed communication between the CPU workstation and FPGA emulator. The emulation results are compared to other verification methodologies, and found to be 82% faster than regular RTL simulation. In addition, the emulation runs in the MHz speed

range, allowing the incorporation of software applications, drivers, and operating systems, as opposed to the Hz range in RTL simulation.


Digital Design; Digital integrated circuits--Testing; Field programmable gate arrays; Integrated circuits; Systems on a chip


Computer Engineering | Computer Sciences | Electrical and Computer Engineering

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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