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Exploiting Selective Placement for Low-cost Memory Protection

Summary: 14
Exploiting Selective Placement for Low-cost
Memory Protection
Advanced Computer Architecture Lab, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Many embedded processing applications, such as those found in the automotive or medical field,
require hardware designs that are at the same time low cost and reliable. Traditionally, reliable
memory systems have been implemented using coded storage techniques, such as ECC. While these
designs can effectively detect and correct memory faults such as transient errors and single-bit de-
fects, their use bears a significant cost overhead. In this article, we propose a novel partial memory
protection scheme that provides high-coverage fault protection for program code and data, but with
much lower cost than traditional approaches. Our approach profiles program code and data usage to
assess which program elements are most critical to maintaining program correctness. Critical code
and variables are then placed into a limited protected storage resources. To ensure high coverage
of program elements, our placement technique considers all program components simultaneously,
including code, global variables, stack frames, and heap variables. The fault coverage of our ap-
proach is gauged using Monte Carlo fault-injection experiments, which confirm that our technique
provides high levels of fault protection (99% coverage) with limited memory protection resources
(36% protected area).
Categories and Subject Descriptors: B.8.1 [Hardware]: Performance and Reliability--Reliability,


Source: Austin, Todd M. - Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan


Collections: Engineering; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences