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Soft Error Research

Soft Error Research at The Pennsylvania State University

Soft Error ImageSoft errors or transient errors are circuit errors caused due to excess charge carriers. One of the primary sources of excess charge carriers are external radiations. Radiation directly or indirectly induces a localized ionization capable of upsetting internal data states. While these errors cause an upset event, the circuit itself is not damaged. In memories, these excess charge carriers cause bit flips while in logic circuits, it leads to voltage glitches that propagate  through the logic to get latched on to the output thus resulting in errors.

This web page covers the work conducted here at Penn State University on soft errors, which is focused in the creation of an accelerated soft error testing dataset and development of SEAT, a Soft Error Analysis Toolset drawn on the combined expertise of computer and nuclear engineers. The uniqueness of the toolset will be the support for soft error analysis ranging from device to architectural level. The design and validation of this toolset will be supported by accelerated soft error testing performed at the Breazeale nuclear research reactor at the Penn State campus. The data generated from our soft error testing and SEAT will serve as vital resources for researchers in developing and evaluating soft error countermeasures. Further, SEAT will serve as a useful tool for training students taking courses on reliable systems and VLSI design.

* This work is supported in part by NSF Award # 0454123

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