Sequential element design with built-in soft error resilience

Ming Zhang, Subhasish Mitra, T. M. Mak, Norbert Seifert, Nicholas J. Wang, Quan Shi, Kee Sup Kim, Naresh R. Shanbhag, Sanjay J. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a built-in soft error resilience (BISER) technique for correcting radiation-induced soft errors in latches and flip-flops. The presented error-correcting latch and flip-flop designs are power efficient, introduce minimal speed penalty, and employ reuse of on-chip scan design-for-testability and design-for-debug resources to minimize area overheads. Circuit simulations using a sub-90-nm technology show that the presented designs achieve more than a 20-fold reduction in cell-level soft error rate (SER). Fault injection experiments conducted on a microprocessor model further demonstrate that chip-level SER improvement is tunable by selective placement of the presented error-correcting designs. When coupled with error correction code to protect in-pipeline memories, the BISER flip-flop design improves chip-level SER by 10 times over an unprotected pipeline with the flip-flops contributing an extra 7-10.5% in power. When only soft errors in flips-flops are considered, the BISER technique improves chip-level SER by 10 times with an increased power of 10.3%. The error correction mechanism is configurable (i.e., can be turned on or off) which enables the use of the presented techniques for designs that can target multiple applications with a wide range of reliability requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1368-1376
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Circuit simulation
  • Error correction
  • Fault injection
  • Sequential element design
  • Soft error rate (SER)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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