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Fingerprinting: Low-overhead Error Detection on Commodity Microprocessors

Tuesday October 18, 2005
Hamerschlag Hall D-210
4:00 pm

Jared Smolens
Carnegie Mellon University

Future microprocessors will be increasingly susceptible to soft errors from many sources, including decreasing node capacitances and process variation. Detecting these errors in a timely manner and cost-efficient manner is a key problem in designing high-reliability computer systems. In this talk, I present two forms of fingerprinting, a low-overhead error detection technique that detects architectural differences in execution across redundant processor cores. First, microarchitectural fingerprints capture a cumulative summary of values on internal data and control path nodes in the microprocessor. These can be implemented with small modifications to existing design-for-test hardware, but require processor cores to operate in lock-step. Alternatively, architectural fingerprints summarize a processor's recent architectural state updates in a small signature for low bandwidth comparison, without capturing timing-dependent behavior. These require modest additions to the microprocessor's retirement stages, but eliminate the lock-step requirement. In this talk, I will show how these fingerprinting mechanisms work and how they can be implemented in an existing commodity microprocessor design.

Jared Smolens is a PhD candidate in the ECE department at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is advised by Prof. James Hoe. He received his BS and MS in ECE from Carnegie Mellon University. His research interests are in multiprocessor and microprocessor architectures, fault tolerance, and performance modeling. He has spent this past summer working to prove out fingerprinting at Intel.


Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringCarnegie Mellon UniversitySchool of Computer Science