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Soft-Error Tolerant Quasi Delay-insensitive Circuits


Jang, Wonjin (2008) Soft-Error Tolerant Quasi Delay-insensitive Circuits. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/ZVFF-WE07.


A hard error is an error that damages a circuit irrevocably; a soft error flips the logic states without causing any physical damage to the circuit, resulting in transient corruption of data. They result in transient, inconsistent corruption of data.

The soft-error tolerance of logic circuits is recently getting more attention, since the soft- error rate of advanced CMOS devices is higher than before. As a response to the concern on soft errors, we propose a new method for making asynchronous circuits tolerant to soft errors. Since it relies on a property unique to asynchronous circuits, the method is different from what is done in synchronous circuits with triple modular redundancy. Asynchronous circuits have been attractive to the designers of reliable systems, because of their clock-less design, which makes them more robust to variations on computation time of modules. The quasi delay-insensitive (QDI) design style is one of the most robust asynchronous design styles for general computation; it makes one minimal assumption on delays in gates and wires. QDI circuits are easy to verify, simple, and modular, because the correct operation of a QDI circuit is independent of delays in gates and wires.

Here, we shall overview how to design a QDI circuit, and what will happen if a soft error occurs on a QDI circuit. Then the crucial components of the method are shown: (1) a special kind of duplication for random logic (when each bit has to be corrected individually), (2) special protection circuitry for arbiter and synchronizer (as needed for example for external interrupts), (3) reconfigurable circuits using a special configuration unit, and (4) error correcting for memory arrays and other structures in which the data bits can be self- corrected. The solution of protecting random logic is compared with alternatives, which use other types of error correcting codes (e.g., parity code) in a QDI circuit. It turns out that the duplication generates efficient circuits more commonly than other possible constructions. Finally, the design of a soft-error tolerant asynchronous microprocessor is detailed and testing results of the soft-error tolerance of the microprocessor are shown.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Asynchronous circuits; QDI; soft error; error tole
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computer Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Martin, Alain J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Martin, Alain J. (chair)
  • Bruck, Jehoshua
  • Chandy, K. Mani
  • Ho, Tracey C.
  • Abu-Mostafa, Yaser S.
Defense Date:11 September 2007
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-11092007-180524
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5260
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:05 Dec 2007
Last Modified:07 Jun 2023 17:32

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