Error Detector Placement for Soft Computation

Anna Thomas and Karthik Pattabiraman, Proceedings of the IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN), 2013. [ PDF File | Talk ]

Abstract: The scaling of Silicon devices has exacerbated the unreliability of modern computer systems, and power constraints have necessitated the involvement of software in hardware error detection. At the same time, emerging workloads in the form of soft computing applications, (e.g., multimedia applications) can tolerate most hardware errors as long as the erroneous outputs do not deviate significantly from error-free outcomes. We term outcomes that deviate significantly from the error-free outcomes as Egregious Data Corruptions (EDCs).

In this study, we propose a technique to place detectors for selectively detecting EDC causing errors in an application. We performed an initial study to formulate heuristics that identify EDC causing data. Based on these heuristics, we developed an algorithm that identifies program locations for placing high coverage detectors for EDCs using static analysis. We evaluate our technique on six benchmarks to measure the EDC coverage under given performance overhead bounds. Our technique achieves an average EDC coverage of 82%, under performance overheads of 10%, while detecting 10% of the Non-EDC and benign faults.