Motivated by purpose; realized through collaboration.
Janusz Rajski has received a prestigious Siemens Lifetime achievement award in recognition of his work in testing integrated circuits. Rajski developed embedded deterministic test (EDT), which helps reduce the cost of test while improving the quality, along with more than 60 invention registrations protected by 109 individual US patents. The award is a tremendous recognition of not only Rajski’s transformational inventions, but also of his leadership and guiding principles that allow a large team of people from across the business to bring his innovations to succeed in the market.
Integrated circuits (ICs) are the building blocks of electronics in computers, aircraft, cars, medical device, smartphones and thousands of other devices the world depends on. To ensure these devices work as intended, the ICs are thoroughly tested after being manufactured, and sometimes throughout the entire lifetime of the product. Circuits are self-tested, for example, every time you turn your car on.
As the sizes of IC designs grew In the 1990s, the cost and time of testing all these circuits started to become prohibitive. Just as the situation was approaching crisis stage, Rajski developed a technology that compresses the test data that is generated, transferred and applied to ICs, which could reduce the time and cost of IC test. The product hit the market in 2000 and is now sold under the name Tessent TestKompress.
Rajski, VP of engineering in Mentor’s Tessent test group, has built on the success of EDT, leading to technologies such as the more recent transistor-level test, called Cell-aware ATPG, that is seeing rapid adoption by semiconductor companies making ICs for use in zero-defect applications like automotive.
Janusz shared his thoughts on innovation:
“The secret is always the team. We assemble a team with the best people in this industry for ATPG, compression, memory and logic BIST, analog test, diagnosis, and yield learning aspects. Not only do our products reflect this, but also our publications. The Mentor Tessent team always shows up at the top conferences like ITC or other test and diagnosis symposiums.
The culture of innovation is always within the team. In a very deep way, we have a track record of doing innovative research and then translating that into products. This innovation culture is shared between our team members. The culture of innovation gives us the capability to face new challenges. In addition, we have to focus on our customer’s real problems. Even if a problem has no known solution, we have the confidence to solve it and create the value for our customers because of the team.
Twenty years ago, the semiconductor industry said that the cost of testing was going to kill their profitability. The chief technology officer from Intel predicted that in 15 years, the cost of testing would be the same as the cost of manufacturing. Our team was the first to see it, because of the capability and our focus. As a result, we introduced TestKompress, the first commercial embedded compression and solved the test cost issue for the IC industry.
One more example, when transitioning to a new technology node the quality of the IC manufacturing is not always so good, and it takes a long time to debug the yield issues manually. We focus on solving this problem by developing the diagnosis and yield assist tools. When you find a problem and focus, with a confident team, you can create value for your customers.
We do our own research, and in many cases, we do industry-leading research. The next step is collaboration with semiconductor companies to validate our solutions. Since Mentor doesn’t own the silicon, we cooperated with more than 20 companies with over 100 million dies for the Cell-Aware Test to ensure the quality improvement of the solution.
TestKompress is one of the three products that has been granted a Stephen Swerling Innovation Award during Mentor’s whole history, and it helped Mentor Graphics achieve the No.1 position in design-for-test. Innovation will not only affect patterns, but also business and marketing share.”