Application of Six-Sigma DMAIC Methodology in the Evaluation of Test Effectiveness: A Case Study for EDA Tools

Eman El Mandouh
Quality Assurance Manager , Mentor Graphics


As the scale and complexity of electronic designs increase, Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools become much more sophisticated and have to face incredible challenges to keep peace with increasing technology and time-to-market pressures. EDA tools have to own a lot of quality attributes such as performance, scalability, usability as well as functionality. Testing of EDA tools is not about avoiding crashes or core dumps, but it is about verifying tool’s ability to work correctly on a wide range of input data, have higher capability to visualize and debug larger output dataset and to perform reasonably with less memory and time consumption . The scope of testing in EDA tools is challenged by a constant increase in the tool’s code complexity and the expanding number of configurations, flows, combinations and platforms they should support. With shrinking product development life cycles and increasing time to market constraints, a robust quantitative method is needed to judge the pre-release testing effectiveness. This paper presents a case study for the application of six-sigma DMAIC methodology to understand the main problems with some EDA tools testing process, to analytically reach solutions, to identify opportunities for improvement and to quantitatively monitor the effectiveness of the proposed solutions.