Fiesta++ : a software implemented fault injection tool for transient fault injection



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Computer systems, even when correctly designed, can suffer from temporary errors due to radiation particles striking the circuit or changes in the operating conditions such as the temperature or the voltage. Such transient errors can cause systems to malfunction or even crash. Fault injection is a technique used for simulating the effect of such errors on the system. Fault injection tools inject errors in either the software running on the processors or in the underlying computer hardware to simulate the effect of a fault and observe the system behavior. These tools can be used to determine the different responses of the system to such errors and estimate the probability of occurrence of errors in the computations performed by the system. They can also be used to test the fault tolerance capabilities of the system under test or any proposed technique for providing fault tolerance in circuits or software. As a part of this thesis, I have developed a software implemented fault injection tool, Fiesta++, for evaluating the fault tolerance and fault response of software applications. Software implemented fault injection tools inject faults into the software state of the application as it runs on a processor. Since such fault injection tools are used to conduct experiments on applications executing natively on a processor, the experiments can be carried out at almost the same speed as the application execution and can be run on the same hardware as used by the software application in the field. Fiesta++ offers two modes of operation: whitebox and blackbox. The whitebox mode assumes that users have some degree of knowledge of the structure of the software under test and allows them to specify fault injection targets in terms of the application variables and fault injection time in terms of code locations and events at run time. It can be used for precise fault injection to get reproducible outcomes from the fault injection experiments. The blackbox mode is targeted for the case where the user has very little or no knowledge of the application code structure. In this mode, Fiesta++ provides the user with a view of the active process memory and an array of associated information which a user can use to inject faults.