Low overhead Soft Error Mitigation techniques for high-performance and aggressive systems

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Avirneni, Naga Durga Prasad
Subramanian, Viswanathan
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Somani, Arun
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Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) contains two focuses. The focus on Electrical Engineering teaches students in the fields of control systems, electromagnetics and non-destructive evaluation, microelectronics, electric power & energy systems, and the like. The Computer Engineering focus teaches in the fields of software systems, embedded systems, networking, information security, computer architecture, etc.

The Department of Electrical Engineering was formed in 1909 from the division of the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. In 1985 its name changed to Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In 1995 it became the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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  • Department of Electrical Engineering (1909-1985)
  • Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (1985-1995)

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The threat of soft error induced system failure in high performance computing systems has become more prominent, as we adopt ultra-deep submicron process technologies. In this paper, we propose two techniques, namely soft error mitigation (SEM) and soft and timing error mitigation (STEM), for protecting combinational logic blocks from soft errors. Our first technique (SEM), based on distributed and temporal voting of three registers, unloads the soft error detection overhead from the critical path of the systems. Our second technique (STEM) adds timing error detection capability to guarantee reliable execution in aggressively clocked designs that enhance system performance by operating beyond worst-case clock frequency. We also present a specialized low overhead clock generation scheme that ably supports our proposed techniques. Timing annotated gate level simulations, using 45 nm libraries, of a pipelined adder-multiplier and DLX processor show that both our techniques achieve near 100% fault coverage. For DLX processor, even under severe fault injection campaigns, SEM achieves an average performance improvement of 26.58% over a conventional triple modular redundancy voter based soft error mitigation scheme, while STEM outperforms SEM by 27.42%.


This is a manuscript of a proceeding published as Avirneni, Naga Durga Prasad, Viswanathan Subramanian, and Arun K. Somani. "Low overhead Soft Error Mitigation techniques for high-performance and aggressive systems." In 2009 IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems & Networks (2009): 185-194. DOI: 10.1109/DSN.2009.5270340. Posted with permission.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2009