Error Detector Placement for Soft-Computing Applications

Anna Thomas and Karthik Pattabiraman, ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing (TECS). [ PDF ]

This is an expanded version of our conference paper.

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. Our technique achieves an average EDC coverage of 82%, under performance overheads of 10%, while detecting 10% of the Non-EDC and benign faults. We also evaluate the error resilience of these applications under a set of fourteen compiler optimizations.

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