Concurrent Online Testing for Many Core Systems-on-Chips



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Shrinking transistor sizes have introduced new challenges and opportunities for system-on-chip (SoC) design and reliability. Smaller transistors are more susceptible to early lifetime failure and electronic wear-out, greatly reducing their reliable lifetimes. However, smaller transistors will also allow SoC to contain hundreds of processing cores and other infrastructure components with the potential for increased reliability through massive structural redundancy. Concurrent online testing (COLT) can provide sufficient reliability and availability to systems with this redundancy. COLT manages the process of testing a subset of processing cores while the rest of the system remains operational. This can be considered a temporary, graceful degradation of system performance that increases reliability while maintaining availability. In this dissertation, techniques to assist COLT are proposed and analyzed. The techniques described in this dissertation focus on two major aspects of COLT feasibility: recovery time and test delivery costs. To reduce the time between failure and recovery, and thereby increase system availability, an anomaly-based test triggering unit (ATTU) is proposed to initiate COLT when anomalous network behavior is detected. Previous COLT techniques have relied on initiating tests periodically. However, determining the testing period is based on a device's mean time between failures (MTBF), and calculating MTBF is exceedingly difficult and imprecise. To address the test delivery costs associated with COLT, a distributed test vector storage (DTVS) technique is proposed to eliminate the dependency of test delivery costs on core location. Previous COLT techniques have relied on a single location to store test vectors, and it has been demonstrated that centralized storage of tests scales poorly as the number of cores per SoC grows. Assuming that the SoC organizes its processing cores with a regular topology, DTVS uses an interleaving technique to optimally distribute the test vectors across the entire chip. DTVS is analyzed both empirically and analytically, and a testing protocol using DTVS is described. COLT is only feasible if the applications running concurrently are largely unaffected. The effect of COLT on application execution time is also measured in this dissertation, and an application-aware COLT protocol is proposed and analyzed. Application interference is greatly reduced through this technique.