Hardware

Cache Vulnerability Equations for Protecting Data in Embedded Processor Caches From Soft Errors

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Executive Summary

Continuous technology scaling has brought one to a point, where transistors have become extremely susceptible to cosmic radiation strikes, or soft errors. Inside the processor, caches are most vulnerable to soft errors, and techniques at various levels of design abstraction, e.g., fabrication, gate design, circuit design, and microarchitecture-level, have been developed to protect data in caches. However, no work has been done to investigate the effect of code transformations on the vulnerability of data in caches. Data is vulnerable to soft errors in the cache only if it will be read by the processor, and not if it will be overwritten.

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