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A novel software-based defect-tolerance approach for application-specific embedded systems

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2 Author(s)
Da Cheng ; Electr. Eng. Dept., CA, USA ; Gupta, S.

Traditional approaches for improving yield are based on the use of hardware redundancy (HR), and their benefits are limited for high defect densities due to increasing layout complexities and diminishing return effects. This research is based on an observation that completely correct operation of user programs can be guaranteed while using chips with one or more unrepairable memory modules if software-level techniques satisfy two condistions: (1) defects only affect a few memory cells rather than cause malfunction for the entire memory module, and (2) either we do not use any part of the memory affected by the un-repaired defect, or we do use the affected part, but only in a manner that does not excite the un repaired defect to cause errors. This paper proposes a software based defect-tolerance (SBDT) approach in combination with HR to utilize defective memory chips for application-specific systems. The proposed approach requires known and fixed program and information about defective locations for each memory module, hence this paper focuses on SoCs and other application-specific systems built around processors, such as DSP and graphics processors. We model an application program and defective memory copies as described next.

Published in:

Computer Design (ICCD), 2011 IEEE 29th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

9-12 Oct. 2011