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An Automated Approach to Estimating Hardness Assurance Issues in Triple-Modular Redundancy Circuits in Xilinx FPGAs

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3 Author(s)
Quinn, H. ; ISR-3 Space Data Syst., Los Alamos Nat. Lab., Los Alamos, NM ; Graham, P. ; Pratt, B.

The Xilinx Virtex family of static random access memory (SRAM) based field programmable gate array (FPGA) devices have made inroads into space-based computational platforms over the past decade. These devices are well-suited for digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms that are often used on orbit, providing the speedup of custom hardware without the cost of fabricating an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). SRAM FPGAs store the circuit in radiation-tolerant SRAM and SEUs can affect both the circuit functionality and the circuit state. Triple-modular redundancy (TMR) can be used to mask SEUs so that malfunctioning circuitry will not affect the output data. Unfortunately, applying TMR to a user circuit is difficult and unprotected cross-section is possible due to problems with the circuit design, device constraints, or the implementation of the user circuit on the FPGA. Given the complexity of these designs, estimating hardness assurance issues is not simple. This paper will present a tool, called the scalable tool for the analysis of reliable circuits (STARC), that can automatically estimate unprotected cross-section and other hardness assurance issues for TMR-protected circuits.

Published in:

Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:55 ,  Issue: 6 )