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Continuously shrinking feature sizes result in an increasing susceptibility of circuits to transient faults, e.g., due to environmental radiation. Approaches to implement fault tolerance are known. But assessing the fault tolerance of a given implementation is a hard verification problem. Here, we propose the use of formal methods to assess the robustness of a digital circuit with respect to transient faults. Our formal model uses a fixed bound in time and exploits fault detection circuitry to cope with the complexity of the underlying sequential equivalence check. As a result, a lower and an upper bound on the robustness are returned together with vulnerable components. The underlying algorithm and techniques to improve the efficiency are presented. In experiments, we evaluate the method on circuits with different fault detection mechanisms.
Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:30 , Issue: 8 )
Date of Publication: Aug. 2011