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A Dynamically Adjusting Gracefully Degrading Link-Level Fault-Tolerant Mechanism for NoCs

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3 Author(s)
Vitkovskiy, A. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng. & Inf., Cyprus Univ. of Technol., Lemesos, Cyprus ; Soteriou, V. ; Nicopoulos, C.

The rapid scaling of silicon technology has enabled massive transistor integration densities. Nanometer feature sizes, however, are marred by increasing variability and susceptibility to wear-out. Billion-transistor designs, such as chip multiprocessors (CMPs), are especially vulnerable to defects. CMPs rely on a network-on-chip for all their communication needs. A single link failure within this on-chip fabric can impede, halt, or even deadlock, intertile communication, which can render the entire chip multiprocessor useless. In this paper, we present a technique capable of handling very large numbers of permanent wire failures that occur in parallel links either at manufacture-time or at runtime (dynamically). As opposed to marking an entire parallel link as faulty, whenever some wires fail, the proposed methodology employs these partially-faulty links (PFLs) to continue the transfer of information-albeit at a gracefully degraded mode-in order to maintain network connectivity. Furthermore, the presented technique can designate PFLs as fully-faulty when several wires fail, by utilizing appropriate routing algorithms that bypass nonoperational links, while still maintaining load-balance in the vicinity of PFLs. The proposed scheme employs architectural support within the on-chip routers to detect link failures and enable reconfiguration at the granularity of individual wires. Hardware synthesis confirms the low-cost nature of the proposed architecture, and full-system simulations using both synthetic network traffic and real workloads demonstrate its efficacy.

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Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 8 )