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Computing architectural vulnerability factors for address-based structures

By Arijit Biswas, Paul Racunas, Razvan Cheveresan, Joel Emer, Shubhendu S. Mukherjee and Ram Rangan


Processor designers require estimates of the architectural vulnerability factor (AVF) of on-chip structures to make accurate soft error rate estimates. AVF is the fraction of faults from alpha particle and neutron strikes that result in user-visible errors. This paper shows how to use a performance model to calculate the AVF of address-based structures, using a data cache, a data translation buffer, and a store buffer as examples. We describe how to perform a detailed breakdown of lifetime components (e.g., fill-toread, read-to-evict) of bits in these structures into ACE (required for architecturally correct execution), un-ACE (unnecessary for ACE), and unknown components. This lifetime analysis produces best estimate AVFs for these three structures ’ data arrays of 6%, 36%, and 4%, respectively. We then present a new technique, hammingdistance-one analysis, and show that it predicts surprisingly low best estimate AVFs of 0.41%, 3%, and 7.7 % for the structures ’ tag arrays. Finally, using our lifetime analysis framework, we show how two AVF reduction techniques--periodic flushing and incremental scrubbing--can reduce the AVF by converting ACE lifetime components into un-ACE without affecting performance significantly

Year: 2005
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