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A memory array reliability model is developed that can be applied to a wide range of memory organizations including random-access memories (RAM) and read-only memories (ROM). The model is particularly useful for computing the reliability of fault-tolerant memories that employ techniques such as hardware redundancy, error-correcting codes, and software error-correcting algorithms. The model accommodates the effect of faults masked by data. Reliability models that incorporate the array model are given for a simplex RAM, an N-modular-redundant RAM, a spared RAM, a single-error-correcting RAM, a multiple-error-correcting RAM, and a ROM. Reliability characteristics of these memories are compared. The results suggest that memories with error-correcting capability and spare bit-planes provide the best reliability. Memories with sparing at the array level are next best followed by NMR and simplex organizations. ROM reliability is shown to be more optimistic when masked faults are considered.
Date of Publication: April 1978