The use of the term ‘Highly Accelerated Life Testing’, better known as HALT, originated in the late 1980’s within two different sectors of the electronics industry. Gregg Hobbs of Hobbs Engineering began to use the term HALT in 1988 (based on various marketing literature), though the mindset and the process goes back several decades. Hobbs developed the term to describe a sequential process of applying a variety of stresses to a product, either individually or in combination, to identify the weak links in the design.
Munikoti and Dhar of Northern Telecom (Nortel) also used the term HALT in 1987 (one year before Hobbs) to describe a solution to the accelerated life tests being performed at that time on ceramic capacitors (37th IEEE Electronics Components Conference, 1987 and IEEE CHMT, vol. 11, no. 4, Dec. 1988). The standard qualification tests at the time, based on MIL-C-123A, took 1000 to 2000 hours and were considered too time-consuming. Munikoti and Dhar proposed testing at higher voltages and temperatures to reduce the test times to necessary to calculate mean time to failure (MTTF) and identify defective lots. Kurtz et. al. proposed a similar approach approximately a year later (J. ACerS, vol. 72, no. 12, Dec. 1989).
But as time has shown us, HALT is not HALT.