Memory array protection: Check on read or check on write?
SourceProceedings -Design, Automation and Test in Europe, DATE
16th Design, Automation and Test in Europe Conference and Exhibition, DATE 2013
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This work introduces Check-on-Write: a memory array error protection approach that enables a trade-off between a memory array's fault-coverage and energy. The presented approach checks for error in a value stored in an array before it is overwritten rather than, as currently done, when it is read (check-on-read). This aims at reducing the number and energy of error code checks. This lazy protection approach can be used for caches in systems that support failure-atomicity to recover from corrupted state due to a fault. The paper proposes and evaluates an adaptive memory protection scheme that is capable of both check-on-read and check-on-write and switches between the two protection modes depending on the energy to be saved and fault coverage requirements. Experimental analysis shows that our technique reduces the average dynamic energy of the L1 instruction cache tag and data arrays by 18.6% and 17.7% respectively. For the L1 data cache, this is 17.2% and 2.9%, and the savings are 13.4% for the L2 tag array. The paper also quantifies the implications of the proposed scheme on fault-coverage by analyzing the mean-time-to-failure as a function of the transient failure rate. © 2013 EDAA.