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Tsinghua Science and Technology

Keywords

soft error, failure rate analysis, Sequential Equivalence Checking (SEC), application specified

Abstract

Soft errors have become a critical challenge as a result of technology scaling. Existing circuit-hardening techniques are commonly associated with prohibitive overhead of performance, area, and power. However, evaluating the influence of soft errors in Flip-Flops (FFs) on the failure of circuit is a difficult verification problem. Here, we proposed a novel flip-flop soft-error failure rate analysis methodology using a formal method with respect to application behaviors. Approach and optimization techniques to implement the proposed methodology based on the given formula using Sequential Equivalence Checking (SEC) are introduced. The proposed method combines the advantage of formal technique-based approaches in completeness and the advantage of application behaviors in accuracy to differentiate vulnerability of components. As a result, the FFs in a circuit are sorted by their failure rates, and designers can use this information to perform optimal hardening of selected sequential components against soft errors. Experimental results of an implementation of a SpaceWire end node and the largest ISCAS’89 benchmark sequential circuits indicate the feasibility and potential scalability of our approach. A case study on an instruction decoder of a practical 32-bit microprocessor demonstrates the applicability of our method.

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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