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Nowadays, a number of processor cores are available, either as soft intellectual property (IP) cores or as hard macros that can be employed in developing new systems on a chip. Developers of applications targeting harsh environments like the atmospheric radiation environment or the space radiation environment may benefit from the computing power of processor cores, provided that suitable techniques are available for guaranteeing their correct operations in presence of the ionizing radiation that abounds in such environments. In this paper, we describe a design flow and hardware/software architecture to successfully deploy processor IP cores in harsh environments. Experimental data are provided that confirm the robustness of the presented architecture with respect to transient errors induced by radiation and suggest the possibility of employing such architectures in deep-space exploration missions.
Date of Publication: July 2011