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Radiation-induced single event upsets (SEUs) pose a major challenge for the design of memories and logic circuits in high-performance microprocessors in technologies beyond 90nm. Historically, we have considered power-performance-area trade offs. There is a need to include the soft error rate (SER) as another design parameter. In this paper, we present radiation particle interactions with silicon, charge collection effects, soft errors, and their effect on VLSI circuits. We also discuss the impact of SEUs on system reliability. We describe an accelerated measurement of SERs using a high-intensity neutron beam, the characterization of SERs in sequential logic cells, and technology scaling trends. Finally, some directions for future research are given.