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PRISM

Hamza Omar, Omer Khan

Abstract: Multicores increasingly deploy safety-critical parallel applications that demand resiliency against soft-errors to satisfy the safety standards. However, protection against these errors is challenging due to complex communication and data access protocols that aggressively share on-chip hardware resources. Research has explored various temporal and spatial redundancy-based resiliency schemes that provide multicores with high soft-error coverage. However, redundant execution incurs performance overheads due to interference effects induced by aggressive resource sharing. Moreover, these schemes require intrusive hardware modifications and fall short in providing efficient system availability guarantees. This article proposes PRISM, a resilient multicore architecture that incorporates strong hardware isolation to form redundant clusters of cores, ensuring a non-interference-based redundant execution environment. A soft error in one cluster does not effect the execution of the other cluster, resulting in high system availability. Implementing strong isolation for shared hardware resources, such as queues, caches, and networks requires logic for partitioning. However, it is less intrusive as complex hardware modifications to protocols, such as hardware cache coherence, are avoided. The PRISM approach is prototyped on a real Tilera Tile-Gx72 processor that enables primitives to implement the proposed cluster-level hardware resource isolation. The evaluation shows performance benefits from avoiding destructive hardware interference effects with redundant execution, while delivering superior system availability.
Keywords: Soft-errors / strong isolation / hardware interference

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