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Error-Correcting Unordered Codes and Hardware Support for Robust Asynchronous Global Communication

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2 Author(s)
Melinda Y. Agyekum ; Department of Computer Science, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA ; Steven M. Nowick

This paper introduces a new family of error-correction unordered (ECU) codes for global communication, called Zero-Sum. They combine the timing-robustness of delay-insensitive (i.e., unordered) codes with the fault-tolerance of error-correcting codes (providing 1-bit error correction or 2-bit detection). Two key features of the codes are that they are systematic, allowing direct extraction of data, and weighted, where the check field is computed as the sum of data index weights. A wide variety of weight assignments is shown to be feasible. Two practical enhancements are also proposed. The Zero-Sum+ code extends error detection to 3-bit errors, or alternatively handles 2-bit detection and 1-bit correction. The Zero-Sum* code supports heuristic 2-bit correction, while still guaranteeing 2-bit detection, under different strategies of weight assignment. Detailed hardware implementations of the supporting components (encoder, completion detection, error corrector) are given, as well as an outline of the system microarchitecture. In comparison to the best alternative systematic ECU code, the basic Zero-Sum code provided better or comparable coding efficiency, with a 5.74%-18.18% reduction in average number of wire transitions for most field sizes. Several Zero-Sum* codes were also evaluated for their 2-bit error correction coverage; initial results are promising, where the best strategy corrected 52.92%-71.16% of all 2-bit errors for most field sizes, with only a moderate decrease in coding efficiency and increase in wire transitions. Technology-mapped pre-layout implementations of the supporting Zero-Sum code hardware were synthesized with the UC Berkeley ABC tool using a 90 nm industrial standard cell library. Results indicate that they have moderate area and delay overheads. In comparison, supporting hardware for the best nonsystematic ECU codes have 3.82-10.44× greater area for larger field sizes.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 1 )