Faculty of Information Technology, BUT

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Fault Recovery for Coarse-Grained TMR Soft-Core Processor Using Partial Reconfiguration and State Synchronization

SZURMAN Karel and KOTÁSEK Zdeněk. Fault Recovery for Coarse-Grained TMR Soft-Core Processor Using Partial Reconfiguration and State Synchronization. Proceedings of the 7th Prague Embedded Systems Workshop. Roztoky u Prahy, 2019.
TMR, fault recovery, state synchronization, processor, FPGA reconfiguration

SRAM FPGAs are being more commonly integrated into safety-critical systems nowadays. These digital circuits can provide suitable platform for a fault tolerant system implementation meeting the trade-offs between performance, reliability, cost and hardware resources. However, SRAM technology is vulnerable to radiation-induced faults and mainly to Single Event Upset (SEU) effect. The SEU can cause "bitflip" faults in SRAM memory cells which may affect internal FPGA routing (clock and reset signals), user memory (flip-flops, block RAM) and the functionality of implemented circuits. SEU mitigation must be implemented into the safety-critical design to achieve required system reliability in the harsh environment. SEU mitigation strategy may combine hardware redundancy and Partial Dynamic Reconfiguration (PDR) in order to implement error detection, self-repair ability and fault recovery mechanism into the system. With respect to the compromise between the system reliability and the resource overhead, various hardware redundancy schemes can be used. The most used form is Triple Modular Redundancy (TMR) which can be applied on different granularity levels in the system design. Coarse-grained TMR and PDR are often combined in one reconfigurable architecture. The time between SEU occurrence and the completion of fault recovery become a crucial parameter because the reliability of the TMR with one failed replica is worse than the reliability of an unprotected system. The fault recovery process can be generally divided into three phases: 1) fault detection, 2) fault removal by reconfiguration of a region containing replica identified as faulty, and 3) state synchronization bringing the reconfigured replica into the operating state consistent with other correctly operating replicas. Combination of TMR and PDR is the approach also often addressed by fault mitigation methods designed for soft-core processors. The processor state is stored in internal memories and various architectural registers. After a faulty processor replica is reconfigured, its internal registers holding the processor state need to be synchronized with their up-to-dated copies from other processors replicas which were correctly operating. In this paper, we propose a fault recovery mechanism for soft-core processor NEO430 and demonstrate a possibility to implement a fault recovery mechanism for soft-core processor with the state synchronization logic embedded into the processor architecture and with the non-blocking CPU execution aware of fault recovery phases.
Proceedings of the 7th Prague Embedded Systems Workshop
The 7th Prague Embedded Systems Workshop, Roztoky u Prahy, CZ
Roztoky u Prahy, CZ
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