Scheduling considerations for voter checking in TMR-MER systems

Nguyen T. H. Nguyen, Ediz Cetin, Oliver Diessel

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are susceptible to radiation-induced Single Event Upsets (SEUs). A common technique for dealing with SEUs is Triple Modular Redundancy (TMR) combined with Module-based configuration memory Error Recovery (MER). By triplicating components and voting on their outputs, TMR helps localize the configuration memory errors, and by reconfiguring the faulty component, MER swiftly corrects the errors. However, the order in which the voters of TMR components are checked has an inevitable impact on the overall system reliability. In this paper, we outline an approach for computing the reliability of TMR-MER systems that consist of finitely many components. Using the derived reliability models we demonstrate that the system reliability is improved when the critical components are checked more frequently for the presence of configuration memory errors than when they are checked in round-robin order. We propose a genetic algorithm for finding a voter checking schedule that maximizes system reliability for systems consisting of finitely many TMR components. Simulation results indicate that the mean time to failure of TMR-MER systems can be increased by up to 100% when Variable-Rate Voter Checking (VRVC) rather than round robin, is used. We show that the power used to eliminate configuration memory errors in an exemplar TMR-MER system employing VRVC is reduced while system reliability remains high. We also demonstrate that errors can be detected 30% faster on average when the system employs VRVC instead of round robin for voter checking.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIEEE 25th Annual International Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines (FCCM 2017)
    Subtitle of host publicationproceedings
    Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ, USA
    PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
    Number of pages1
    ISBN (Electronic)9781538640371
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    Event25th IEEE International Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines, FCCM 2017 - Napa, United States
    Duration: 30 Apr 20172 May 2017
    Conference number: 25


    Conference25th IEEE International Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines, FCCM 2017
    Country/TerritoryUnited States


    • Computer science
    • Low earth orbit satellites
    • Orbits
    • Reliability
    • Round robin
    • Tunneling magnetoresistance
    • FPGA
    • Module-based Error Recovery
    • Reliability model
    • Single Event Upsets
    • Triple Modular Redundancy


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