A dependable coarse-grain reconfigurable multicore array
Paper in proceedings, 2014
© 2014 IEEE. Recent trends in semiconductor technology have dictated the constant reduction of device size. One negative effect stemming from the reduction in size and increased complexity is the reduced device reliability. This paper is centered around the matter of permanent fault tolerance and graceful system degradation in the presence of permanent faults. We take advantage of the natural redundancy of homogeneous multicores following a sparing strategy to reuse functional pipeline stages of faulty cores. This is done by incorporating reconfigurable interconnects next to which the cores of the system are placed, providing the flexibility to redirect the data-flow from the faulty pipeline stages of damaged cores to spare (still) functional ones. Several micro-architectural changes are introduced to decouple the processor stages and allow them to be interchangeable. The proposed approach is a clear departure from previous ones by offering full flexibility as well as highly graceful performance degradation at reasonable costs. More specifically, our coarsegrain faulttolerant multicore array provides up to ×4 better availability compared to a conventional multicore and up to ×2 higher probability to deliver at least one functioning core in high fault densities. For our benchmarks, our design (synthesized for STM 65nm SP technology) incurs a total execution-time overhead for the complete system ranging from ×1.37 to ×3.3 compared to a (baseline) non-fault-tolerant system, depending on the permanent-fault density. The area overhead is 19.5% and the energy consumption, without incorporating any power/energy- saving technique, is estimated on average to be 20.9% higher compared to the baseline, unprotected design.
Dependability and availability
Coarse grain reconfigurable processors