Isolated Sub-Population Analysis Capabilities of M1 OT Version 6

Posted in In My Opinion...

A dozen or so years ago when I was living on airplanes every day and consulting my butt off, I spent a LOT of time chasing down really screwy behaviors in systems and devices... mostly clock distribution and reception parts using PLLs. The pace was intense and I needed to have a slick set of tricks to get pathologies to give themselves up quickly so I could fly off to the next pay check. My objective was to kill "rescue consults" in a single work day every single time (my work days usually go until well after midnight but I don't consider that cheating). One of the single most effective tools I used to employ for getting to the root cause of any pathology was what I call isolated subpopulation analysis (ISPA). ISPA is about measuring just the "bad stuff", unobscured and undistracted by the myriad of normal behaviors/events in the waveform. It's useful to know how often an anomaly repeats, or how long it lasts, or how many pathological events take place during a single "outbreak" or burst. Or you might want to understand if the occurrence of the pathological events correlates to other events on other waveforms. Various forms of ISPA, both automatic and manually driven, have been a big part of M1 from nearly the start and were a part of literally every rescue consult I ever did.

With the infrastructure for a massively effective mechanism for detecting and locating a wide range of waveform anomalies in place (Hidden Anomaly Location), it finally made sense for us to amp up the ISPA thrust of M1 OT. Version 6 extends the anomaly chase started in Version 5 to its logical conclusion... analysis, and association with events on other waveforms, with the idea of finding the root cause of the anomaly. The plan for Version 6 is to deploy (or in some cases, fill out) a range of methods of creating isolated sub-populations, so those populations can be analyzed using the already very rich analysis and viewing capabilities of M1 OT. The event isolation mechanisms in Version 6 break out as shown in the figure below. The initial release of version 6 contains implements the methods marked with a *, with the others soon to follow.

To answer the question before it's asked, how come we're on version 6 so fast when there's still more to do with HAL? Well the first answer is HAL is its own separate development thread, and will be for years to come. There was no reason not to jump into ISPA now because we're never going to be done with HAL anytime soon (unless you promise to limit the number of ways you can screw up your waveform:). The second answer is ISPA complements HAL and I want to grow them as siblings instead of forcing a generational difference. We're still working on new agents and new ways of using agents so don't be concerned. The third answer is that as a long time finder of waveform problems, I'm pretty excited about ISPA and kicking it out the door now let's me get to the thing I really want to do... let's call it Project X. X will be delivered as part of Version 6 in a month or two, and will bring the human back into M1... we've been pushing on the product's embedded intelligence (replacing the human) pretty hard, but we found something humans are really good at that is useful to the diagnostic process, and a way to complement and lead that process with M1. So Version 6/ISPA hits the beaches today. Sorry for the Secret Squirrel code talk... we definitely have "admirers" that like to try to "flatter" us.

ISPA, coupled with HAL mark a literal revolution in the process of detecting and understanding the kind of issues that every engineering team face and have to conquer to get their design out the door. They will accelerate your time to market by killing problems in your waveforms fast, but that's not the full story. The other revolutionary thing we're going to do with ISPA is not turn it into yet another very expensive boutique module... that you need 5 or 6 other very expensive boutique modules to use... like the folks over at ScopeCo. ISPA is just included in M1 OT and if you're on subscription, boom... you've got ISPA... along with HAL, collaboration, automation, no-cost compliance tests, etc. And it works on all your Tek, Agilent, Yokogawa and LeCroy scopes.