Due to more aggressive design rules adopted by memories than logic circuits, memories have been considered as the major technology driver of advanced logic circuits, so far as CMOS process technology is concerned. Memory failure pattern identification therefore is important, and is traditionally considered a key task that can help improve the efficiency of memory diagnosis and failure analysis. Critical failure patterns (that are the yield killers), however, may change in different memory designs and process technologies. It is difficult to identify critical failure patterns from high-volume memory failure bitmaps if they are not predefined. To solve this problem, we propose a local parallel search algorithm for efficient memory failure pattern identification. In addition, the proposed system integrates the defect-spectrum-based and coordinate-distance-based methods to identify critical memory failure patterns from a large amount of memory failure bitmaps automatically, even if they are not defined in advance. In our experiment for 132,488 4-MB memory failure bitmaps, the proposed system can automatically identify six critical yet undefined failure patterns in minutes, in addition to all known patterns. In comparison, the state-of-the-art commercial tools need manual inspection of the memory failure bitmaps to identify the same failure patterns.
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