Computing Architectural Vulnerability Factors for Address-Based Structures
SIGARCH Computer Architecture News
Processor designers require estimates of the architectural vulnerability factor (AVF) of on-chip structures to make accurate soft error rate estimates. AVF is the fraction of faults from alpha particle and neutron strikes that result in user-visible errors. This paper shows how to use a performance model to calculate the AVF of address-based structures, using a data cache, a data translation buffer, and a store buffer as examples. We describe how to perform a detailed breakdown of lifetime
... wn of lifetime components (e.g., fill-toread, read-to-evict) of bits in these structures into ACE (required for architecturally correct execution), un-ACE (unnecessary for ACE), and unknown components. This lifetime analysis produces best estimate AVFs for these three structures' data arrays of 6%, 36%, and 4%, respectively. We then present a new technique, hammingdistance-one analysis, and show that it predicts surprisingly low best estimate AVFs of 0.41%, 3%, and 7.7% for the structures' tag arrays. Finally, using our lifetime analysis framework, we show how two AVF reduction techniques--periodic flushing and incremental scrubbing--can reduce the AVF by converting ACE lifetime components into un-ACE without affecting performance significantly.