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IBM Journal of Research and Development  
Volume 26, Number 1, Page 78 (1982)
IBM 3081 System Development Technology
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Automated Diagnostic Methodology for the IBM 3081 Processor Complex

by N. N. Tendolkar, R. L. Swann
The concepts of automated diagnostics that were developed for and that are implemented in the IBM 3081 Processor Complex are presented in this paper. Significant features of the 3081 diagnostics methodology are the capability to isolate intermittent as well as solid hardware failures, and the automatic isolation of a failure to the failing field-replaceable unit (FRU) in a high percentage of the cases. These features, which permit a considerable reduction in the time to repair a failure as compared to previous systems, are achieved by designing a machine which has a very high level of error-detection capability as well as special functions to facilitate fault isolation using Level-Sensitive Scan Design (LSSD), and which includes a Processor Controller to implement diagnostic microprograms. Intermittent failures are isolated by analyzing data captured at the detection of the error, and the analysis is concurrent with customer operations if the error is recoverable. A further improvement in the degree of isolation is achieved for solid failures by using automatically generated validation tests which detect and isolate stuck faults in the logic. The diagnostic package was designed to meet a specified value of isolation effectiveness, stated as the average number of FRUs replaced per failure. The technique used to estimate the isolation effectiveness of the diagnostic package and to evaluate proposals for improving isolation is described. Testing of the diagnostic package by hardware bugging indicates very good correlation between projected and measured effectiveness.
Related Subjects: Error control and recovery; Error detection and correction; Performance analysis; Reliability