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A Framework for Reverse Engineering VLSI Chips



Reverse engineering process of VLSI chips is a complex operation that can cost from $10,000 for the simplest chips to hundreds of thousands of dollars for complex chips. In this paper we are presenting an overview of the process of reverse engineering of VLSI chips. The paper outlines the steps involved in the process of reverse engineering of chips as well as the different techniques used to extract the functionality of the chip. Also, the paper presents two case studies of reverse engineering of chips.
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The key to applying computer-aided software engineering to the maintenance and enhancement of existing systems lies in applying reverse-engineering approaches. However, there is considerable confusion over the terminology used in both technical and marketplace discussions. The authors define and relate six terms: forward engineering, reverse engineering, redocumentation, design recovery, restructuring, and reengineering. The objective is not to create new terms but to rationalize the terms already in use. The resulting definitions apply to the underlying engineering processes, regardless of the degree of automation applied