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Error injection-based study of soft error propagation in AMD Bulldozer microprocessor module

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3 Author(s)
Cristian Constantinescu ; Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., Fort Collins, CO, USA ; Mike Butler ; Chris Weller

Single-event upsets (SEU) and single-event transients (SET) may lead to crashes or even silent data corruption (SDC) in microprocessors. Error detection and recovery features are employed to mitigate the impact of SEU and SET. However, these features add performance, area, power, and cost overheads. As a result, designers must concentrate their efforts on protecting the most sensitive areas of the processor. Simulated error injection was used to study the propagation of the SEU-induced soft errors in the latest AMD microprocessor module, Bulldozer. This paper presents the Bulldozer architecture, error injection methodology, and experimental results. Propagation of soft errors is quantified by derating factors. Error injection is performed both at the module and unit level, derating factors and simulation times being compared. Accuracy is assessed by deriving confidence intervals of the derating factors. The experiments point out the most sensitive units of the Bulldozer module, and allow efficient implementation of the error-handling features.

Published in:

IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN 2012)

Date of Conference:

25-28 June 2012